Reviewing Daredevil and the future of Netflix


Back in 2013, Netflix announced an exciting new deal with Marvel Studios to produce a selection of live action series based on some of the best characters from Marvel’s comic books. Situated in the established Marvel cinematic universe, Daredevil, Luke Cage, Iron Fist and Jessica Jones were signed to receive 13 episodes per season, before culminating in a team-up, The Defenders.

The first of these series was scheduled to be Daredevil, a superhero crime drama by showrunner Drew Goddard (The Cabin in the Woods). The show would focus on the blind lawyer known as Matt Murdock, who tackles crime in and outside of the courtroom in Hell’s Kitchen. With his superhuman senses, he attempts to make his city a better place.

The character of Daredevil is synonymous with having some of the best talent in comic book history, and he boasts some of Marvel’s finest work to date. From Frank Miller’s ground-breaking masterpiece, to Bendis/Brubaker’s captivating run and Waid/Samnee’s recent reinvigoration, Daredevil has had it all.

However, he hasn’t had the same luck with movies. The wounds are still sore from Fox’s attempt at Daredevil, which was a cinematic travesty. Despite the fact that the director’s cut was bearable, everyone remembers that park scene. So, Netflix had their work cut out for them to produce something that finally did the character justice.


Have no fear though, as Netflix qualms any concerns. Casting British actor Charlie Cox (Stardust, Boardwalk Empire) was possibly the best decision they made for the show, as they discovered someone who embodied the charm of Murdock and the vehemence of the horned devil all in one delightful mix.

The same praise can be said for Vincent D’Onofrio (Full Metal Jacket, Law & Order: Criminal Intent), who plays the intimidating crime lord, Wilson Fisk. Known as Kingpin to others, D’Onofrio provides one of the most impressive performances of a comic book villain ever. Alongside these two stars, Daredevil also features Deborah Ann Woll (True Blood) as the vulnerable Karen Page, and Eldren Henson (Mighty Ducks) as Murdock’s friend and associate, Foggy Nelson.

Daredevil manages to seamlessly focus on both aspects of Murdock’s life, with drama and action intertwining with ease. Some fight scenes are brilliantly choreographed, with several sequences that’ll leave jaws agape. One corridor sequence in the second episode – filmed all at once without cuts – is even being commended for its technical achievement.


It’s worth nothing that Netflix manages to clean the taint that is given to superhero television shows. Due to the high production values of Daredevil, it abolishes any concerns of being likened to cheaper network programmes, such as Arrow or Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. The cinematography is fantastic, with some moments feeling like they were ripped straight from the pages of a comic book.

Whilst Daredevil hasn’t always been a dark and gritty superhero since his creation, Netflix takes inspiration from Frank Miller and Bendis’ take on the character. For those looking for a swashbuckling adventure, you’ll be left slightly disappointed. Whilst this show doesn’t lend itself to the dark ridiculousness of some other comic book heroes, it is still a series littered with murder, human trafficking and suicide. However, there’s a slight sprinkle of comedy, which mostly comes from Foggy Nelson.

Whilst Daredevil is shared within the Marvel cinematic universe, there isn’t a great deal of references towards other events/heroes. The Battle of NY gets mentioned, but that’s about it. Some keen eyed viewers may recognise some small bits in later episodes, but this is really Daredevil’s story. Not having Frogman at all is a bit unforgivable, though.


References aren’t necessarily essential anyway, as you’re pulled in with an enthralling story and some superb acting. The bar has now been set for other superhero shows, as it’s beautifully shot, perfectly cast and brilliantly crafted. It might just be the television highlight of the year, which is a mighty achievement regarding other shows that have been on recently, such as Better Call Saul.

General feedback has been positive since the release, and it can be safely said that Netflix’s deal with Marvel Studios will be hugely beneficial. Their new model to create their own content has been their best idea yet, and anyone torrenting Netflix’s content is doing a disservice to themselves and the great product provided. Hell, even if you can’t afford the meagre cost, just sign up for free.

The next comic book property lined up is A.K.A. Jessica Jones, which is currently being developed by Melissa Rosenberg (Dexter). This time round, viewers will follow the story of Jessica Jones, played by Krysten Ritter (Breaking Bad), who starts up her own detective agency after a tragic end to her superhero career.

The series will be based on Bendis’ Alias, which was the first title to be published under the MAX imprint at the time, allowing it to appeal to an adult audience with R-rated content. It provided Bendis with creative freedom within Marvel, and Jessica Jones soon became an important part the Avengers soon after that.

A.K.A. Jessica Jones will also establish some fan-favourites from Marvel comics, such as Luke Cage (Mike Colter) and Patsy Walker ‘Hellcat’ (Rachael Taylor). David Tennant also stars as the evil Killgrave (aka The Purple Man), who might just be one of the most vile villains in Marvel comics. Dr Who fans might be in for a shock with his unique role.


Following Luke Cage’s introduction, he will be receiving his very own show alongside his team-mate and fellow Hero for Hire, Iron Fist. Each character will be getting the 13 episode treatment too, focusing on Cage’s life as an ex-con with bulletproof skin, and Iron Fist’s life as a millionaire bestowed with awesome mystical powers.

The Defenders will bring all of these characters together for a mini-series, to face their biggest threat yet. Speculation over who they’re facing has begun amongst fans, with ideas ranging from a full invasion from The Hand (evil occult ninjas), to stopping the devastating killing machine known as The Punisher.

With Marvel gaining the rights back for The Punisher, it wouldn’t come as a surprise to see news of Thomas Jane being involved with Netflix any time soon. Despite the critics’ response of the 2004 film, Thomas Jane’s depiction of the Punisher was spot on. Just three years ago, he reprised the role in this incredible short film, ‘Dirty Laundry’:

Whether or not The Defenders decides to utilise The Hand remains to be seen. They’re an integral part of Daredevil’s history, and they are closely linked to his love interest Elektra. Therefore, it might be best to implement them at a later date. Nonetheless, these two theories may not even be included at all. For all we know, it could be Stilt-Man making his own empire.

Outside of the Netflix/Marvel deal, a Punisher series based on Garth Ennis’ MAX run would greatly benefit from the freedom of Netflix’s model. At this point there a few characters they could use, such as Blade, Ghost Rider, Cloak and Dagger, Power Pack, Elektra and Hawkeye.

Whilst it might not be worth touching Blade and Ghost Rider any time soon, it would be criminal to leave Cloak and Dagger without a mini-series at least. If Netflix ever decided to include Hawkeye in any form on television, then they should look no further than the most recent Matt Fraction and Aja/Wu run on the character. The possibilities are endless.

It’s an exciting time to be a Marvel fan, with Netflix now gaining traction with their new television series and Marvel’s films now entering the third phase. Hopefully A.K.A. Jessica Jones is also a hit, and that the rest of the series allows for an extended deal for both parties involved. Either way, the future looks bright for this partnership.

The Best Comic You’re Not Reading.


When it comes to recommending comics, people appear to show a slight disdain for anything Transformers related. It’s understandable really, as the comics haven’t had the best track record and Michael Bay’s movies are complete drivel. Thankfully, publisher IDW manages to shake off that image of greasy objectified women and dull robots, with their ongoing comic series; Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye.

Nearing its 40th issue, Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye is written by James Roberts, with artwork from series regular Alex Milne. Previously, Roberts caught the attention of Transformers fans when he co-wrote ‘Last Stand of the Wreckers’, which was a harrowing tale of sacrifice and betrayal. This attention led to him taking charge of his own title, which is arguably IDW’s finest publication to date.

The concept is simple, and it feels surprisingly fresh for a Transformers comic. A band of Autobots and Decepticons board the Lost Light, a space vessel in search of the legendary Knights of Cybertron, a mythical group that was believed to have once existed on their home planet. Led by the cocksure Rodimus, his merry team of weird, dangerous and sometimes drunk Transformers get involved with whacky adventures in space.


Of course, not everything goes to plan, even during their departure from Cybertron. Following an unexpected quantum jump, the Lost Light is thrown into the depths of space, where a number of bizarre individuals attempt to overcome a stowaway predator, a fatal zombie plague and one of the deadliest threats in the entire galaxy. Throwing the Transformers into such uncharted territory allows for creative freedom and some innovative storytelling, which reels in the reader with every passing page.

It’s not just the quality of Roberts’ writing, but it’s the sheer quantity of it all. Nowadays, it’s not very common in this industry for comics to be so layered with action and dialogue, but it takes a decent amount of time to finish even a single issue, let alone an entire volume. Readers may even feel obliged to give IDW more money for a single issue, due to how ridiculously dense it always is. If you’re currently reading the title, do not hesitate to reread some panels as you’ll discover some clever foreshadowing throughout.

James Roberts also introduces a selection of fan favourites in More Than Meets the Eye, and he provides character development which hasn’t been witnessed in previous Transformers incarnations. Whilst reading, you’ll witness the hilarious bartender Swerve, the maniacal Whirl, and the Autobot who is almost never amused; Ultra Magnus. There’s a multitude of fantastic and unique characters in this comic and readers are sure to find a favourite amongst them all.


The series is currently in its second run having undergone a refreshing shuffle of characters, after the events of Dark Cybertron. Ex-Decepticon Megatron is now captain of the Lost Light, and not only are fellow travellers questioning his allegiance, but readers too. That’s the beauty of this comic, as Roberts’ manages to develop an already established character for the old and new readers, whilst maintaining interest.

Meanwhile, the comic has recently introduced a mysterious coffin, time travel hijinks and disappearing objects. It fulfils all the needs of a comic book reader, by utilising all of these fantastical science fiction elements. More Than Meets the Eye likes to keep you on your toes by keeping it fresh and this second run is no exception.

Of course, James Roberts’ script is aided by Alex Milne, who is arguably one of the franchise’s best artists to date. It’s a visual look that hasn’t really been approached before; stylishly cartoonish and colourful, whilst retaining a level of detail that is appropriate for a Transformers title. Milne has previously worked for the doomed company Dreamwave, but it is now IDW that benefits from his talent. He was underutilised previously, but now he’s firing on all cylinders.


If you’ve not been won over yet, it must be acknowledged that due to not confining to the strict formula of previous titles, More Than Meets the Eye manages to impress diehard fans, and new readers who are unbeknownst to the concept of transforming robots in space. It’s a grand accomplishment, as the transformers themselves don’t necessarily feel like soulless robots.

It certainly feels like an established universe, and whilst readers may have difficulty in differentiating their ‘bots from their ‘cons, they’ll soon be invested in these characters and that’s when the tears will flow.

It’s also due to the themes that it tackles, which really transcends this comic from every other version of the Transformers. There are in-depth debates about religion, politics and identity which appear all throughout the comic, and it is fascinating how rooted these problems are in their society. These themes are displayed heavily in flashbacks, and concurrent throughout.


More Than Meets the Eye even boasts its first unofficial gay relationship in the Transformers universe, and whilst that might not necessarily feel like new territory for comic readers, it’s worth noting that it’s a first for a franchise, especially for one based on selling toys. It’s a welcome change and yet another reason why this comic is so accessible. Just don’t go visiting some particular 18+ fan sites, unless you’re into that kind of thing.

To put it simply, the characters feel real. They have their own emotions, beliefs and motives. So, be afraid when Roberts’ lulls you into a false sense of security, only to have a horrible twist down the line. It will happen, and it will hurt.

Transformers comics haven’t fared very well in the past, and whilst the Marvel series has a special place in the fan’s hearts, it is More Than Meets the Eye that truly stands as being the finest comic book accomplishment in the Transformers history to date. It succeeds where other series have failed.


It is a sci-fi adventure that takes the reader for one hell of a journey, which never falters in telling a rich, compelling and emotional story. Milne’s artwork is utterly superb and near faultless, providing the reader with an incredible look into such a great universe.

If you’re still put off by the fact that it’s Transformers, then so be it. Just be aware that you’re missing out on of the finest publications on the shelves right now, in an industry that is run down by mind-numbing event, pointless reboots and average storytelling. Also, those other comics don’t have the ex-Wrecker Whirl, and that’s awful.

JACO The Galactic Patrolman – Manga Review


Sometimes, it’s hard to come by a manga series which is worth a reader’s time. Entire series usually come in more than 50 volumes, or titles are stretched over extended periods, due to their popularity. It can be argued that there really isn’t that much artistic diversity in popular manga nowadays, which is a pressing problem for avid comic readers attempting to return to the Eastern fold.

However, once in a while there’s something that is relatively fresh and exciting. This month, that new and exciting title is Akira Toriyama’s Jaco the Galactic Patrolman. Apart from a few one-shots in Weekly Shonen Jump and some artist collaborations, it is Toriyama’s first new series in years since working on Dragonball and Dragonball Z.

Jaco the Galactic Patrolman is a quirky comedy, which focuses on a retired scientist named Omori, who lives alone on his deserted island. Surrounded by a monster shark, Omori rarely leaves his home as he attempts to continue his research into time-travel.

His life is unexpectedly interrupted by the appearance of an alien named Jaco, claiming to be a ‘galactic patrolman’ who has been sent on a mission to eradicate a deadly life-form on its way to Earth. Of course, things don’t go smoothly for Jaco, as his intergalactic spaceship crashes on Omori’s quiet little island. The pair attempts to fix his ship for him, before it’s too late.


Akira Toriyama’s new book is a refreshing little story, with some superb storytelling throughout. It’s helped with his trademark comedy that is often found in previous series. Perverse and slightly peculiar, the jokes are set up brilliantly, warranting at least a laugh now and then.

It also stands out amongst the shelves with Akira Toriyama’s signature art style. It honestly doesn’t feel like there’s a single panel wasted in this book, as his wonderful artwork is crammed into 250 pages worth of content.

Unsurprisingly, Toriyama excels with the action sequences throughout the book as well. Whilst there isn’t a great deal of them, they’re still engaging without lending to the ridiculousness of Dragonball Z’s later brawls. These sequences are simple, yet effective.

It’s a fine return to form for one of the biggest names in manga and anime. Jaco the Galactic Patrolman is engaging and entertaining, providing the reader with some lovely characterisations. Jaco for example, is a vain, powerful and annoying alien, which is a welcome change for a protagonist.


However, despite these qualities, Jaco the Galactic Patrolman leaves us desiring more. Before we know it, the plot has been wrapped up, we’ve been spoiled with some neat surprises and that’s that. With such unique characters, it feels almost criminal to leave Jaco in such a manner.

It’s not often that this happens with manga, but perhaps Jaco will return with some more adventures in the future. If this book is just utilised as a vehicle for something else, then that’s a shame as Toriyama has successfully managed to get readers invested in these individuals.

Either way, it’s a delightful little treat for fans. Jaco the Galactic Patrolman is a refreshing read from start-to-finish. It has that signature art style, which is a welcome change for those in dire need for something different.  Here’s hoping that Akira Toriyama produces some material sooner rather than later, because it’s been a while.

Framed Recommendations – 12/11/14

This week saw the release of two new Marvel comics, Superior Iron Man and Captain America. Unsurprisingly, both comics failed to impress. Superior Iron Man came straight out of the current Marvel event that keeps giving, and Tom Taylor’s script was vastly underwhelming. There’s really no reason for Tony Stark to be written as such a reprehensible character anymore. Axis’ core concept might be switching the alignment of good and evil, but it’s just not interesting or exciting.

Captain America was also disappointing, despite Stuart Immonen being on the creative team. Rick Remender has proven he can be fantastic before, especially with Uncanny X-Force, but Captain America was fairly boring from start to finish. The final reveal wasn’t anything new, as it’s all been done before. Let’s get some new blood into Captain America’s rogues’ gallery already, Marvel.

However, it’s not all bad this week. Cameron Stewart’s Batgirl arrived on our shelves, and here’s hoping this Batgirl is here to stay. It’s such a refreshing read, and the artwork really compliments the script. How long can DC keep it up? Who knows, but here’s hoping it’s a while.

Admittedly, a guilty pleasure of the week was Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s Batman. Sure, we’ve seen it all before. Batman conveniently has the upper hand against Superman and the Justice League every time, but it was still a bit of fun. It’s probably helped by Capullo’s artwork as well, making it the nicest looking Batman story for some time now.

Finally, Mark Millar’s MPH had it’s fourth issue this week. Duncan Fegredo’s artwork is always on form, and even though it’s a strong statement to make, his Hellboy artwork was better than Mignola’s. MPH has had a decent build up so far, and it’s strange to think it could be a film worth looking forward to. Ignoring Millar’s Kick-Ass sequels and other nonsense, titles such as MPH and Starlight make you realise he’s got a great deal of talent.

BATGIRL #36 Stewart + Fletcher / Tarr DC
Stewart + Fletcher / Tarr
BATMAN #36 Snyder / Capullo DC
Snyder / Capullo
Duggan / Lolli
MPH #04 Millar / Fegredo IMAGE
MPH #04
Millar / Fegredo

Framed Recommendations – 29/10/14

There really wasn’t anything worth reviewing last week, as the new comic releases were pretty terrible, save for the final issue of Starlight. The new Deathstroke hit, but that resulted in being typical DC fodder. Arkham Manor showed promise, but that’s about it. Marvel fared even worse last week, as they continued Axis for some reason. It is honestly the worst thing Marvel have put out in a long while, and these new miniseries seem to suffer from Axis‘ poor core concept.

This week however, we’re treated to two magnificent reads; Saga and Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye. Vaughan and Staples further their epic with a new direction, which will hopefully prove to be entertaining for the next part of this series. Vaughan’s on top form in this issue, and Staples proves to be incredible as per usual. It’s just a damn shame that they have both confirmed that we won’t see any new Saga until 2015. That’s like, 2 months away. 2 months too long.

Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye has started off with a new arc, focusing on Megatron’s life as a writer. It’s real interesting stuff, and it provides a great insight into the Decepticon cause too. There’s no need going into details with this issue though, as Roberts’ comic has some surprising moments throughout. It is easily the best comic out at the moment, and it’s so ridiculously dense. It’s rare to see a comic that is actually worth its cover price, and then some.

Finally, it appears that DC will be losing a few readers once the new creative team starts on Wonder Woman. Azzarello’s Wonder Woman was a great little treat for readers, as it managed to separate itself from DC’s dark and edgy look. Sure, we’ve had Batgirl and Gotham Academy recently, but this was the case for some time. David Finch has taken over the art duties for Wonder Woman now, and he’s already been successful in turning her into a teenager, who resembles the talentless talking airbag, Megan Fox.

Transformers: MTMTE #34 Roberts / Rojo IDW
Transformers: MTMTE #34
Roberts / Rojo
SAGA #24 Vaughan / Staples IMAGE
SAGA #24
Vaughan / Staples
WONDER WOMAN #35 Azzarello / Chiang DC
Azzarello / Chiang

Framed Recommendations – 15/10/14

This week was a bit of a mixed bag. Whilst Marvel released Daredevil and the best Edge of Spider-verse issue to date, they still brought out the second instalment of Axis. Rick Remender has done some fine work in the past, but this event just reeks of horrible, rehashed ideas which will only pave the way for some new titles. Superior Iron Man might turn out to be okay, but if we have to read Axis to get there, it just might not be worth it. It’s the worst event since Age of Ultron, and that’s saying something.

Death of Wolverine ended rather abruptly, having had little to no storyline whatsoever in the three previous issues. It just ended on a whimper, with a death which will probably be reversed somehow. Whether it be magic, Magneto or some super adamantium-healing serum that will help him, Marvel will definitely bring him back when the next Fox movie makes money. It’s unfortunate that one of my favourite characters get such terrible treatment. At least plan a credible, coherent story Marvel.

Anyway, I digress. Onto the good stuff. Waid and Samnee’s Daredevil started off fresh from Original Sin, with an interesting take on the Purple Man. One of Daredevil’s oldest foes made some lovely purple children, and they took it upon themselves to take down Matt Murdock in this week’s issue. Again, Samnee does some fantastic work throughout, and Waid wove Matt’s past torment into the story rather nicely. It’s totally worth checking out, and the same can be said for Gerard Way’s Edge of Spider-verse. It is obviously heavily influenced by Neon Genesis Evangelion, but it read well and it looked pretty. Please Way, write more comics. The industry misses you.

Finally, B.P.R.D., Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Prometheus – Fire and Stone all manage to impress. If you haven’t checked out any of the Fire and Stone tie-ins, then do so. They’re actually not bad, and of course, IDW still continue to provide the best comic incarnation of the mutant turtles to date. Get on it.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #39 Eastman / Waltz IDW
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #39
Eastman / Waltz
Daredevil #09 Waid / Samnee MARVEL
Daredevil #09
Waid / Samnee
B.P.R.D Hell on Earth #124 Mignola / Arcudi DARK HORSE
B.P.R.D Hell on Earth #124
Mignola / Arcudi
Prometheus - Fire and Stone #02 Tobin /  Ferreyra DARK HORSE
Prometheus – Fire and Stone #02
Tobin / Ferreyra
Edge of Spider-verse #05 Way / Wyatt MARVEL
Edge of Spider-verse #05
Way / Wyatt

Framed Recommendations – 08/10/14

So, here’s something I’m trying to restart on Seeing as I read a lot of comics every single week, I’ve decided to frame certain moments from some of my most enjoyable reads of the week. You’ll see a variation of panels from different publishers, and I encourage everyone to pick up these titles (or else), because they’re brilliant. These will probably be numbered randomly in the future, but I’ll try my best to showcase my excellent taste.

This week wasn’t so bad for DC, with Stewart’s eagerly anticipated Batgirl managing to entertain, and Batman finally returned to form after the dismal Zero Year event. Capullo is on form here, and I’ll go as far as to say it’s some of his best looking work to date. With Halloween soon approaching, look no further than Snyder and Jock’s Wytches, and Archie Comics’ new Sabrina title. Snyder excels with the horror genre, and it’s a decent first read. Sabrina is fantastic and it just shows that Archie Comics have really branched out this year. If you haven’t checked out Sabrina or Afterlife with Archie yet, then do so! Horror comics done remarkably well. Oh, and Gerry Duggan shows Bunn how to do a Deadpool miniseries. About time, really.

Sex Criminals #08 Fraction / Zdarsky IMAGE
Sex Criminals #08
Fraction / Zdarsky
Batgirl #35 Stewart / Tarr DC
Batgirl #35
Stewart / Tarr
Wytches #01 Snyder / Jock IMAGE
Wytches #01
Snyder / Jock
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina #01 Aguirre-Sacasa / Hack ARCHIE COMICS
Chilling Adventures of Sabrina #01
Aguirre-Sacasa / Hack
Batman #35 Snyder / Capullo DC
Batman #35
Snyder / Capullo
Hawkeye Vs. Deadpool #01 Duggan / Lolli + Camagni MARVEL
Hawkeye Vs. Deadpool #01
Duggan / Lolli + Camagni


REVIEW: Andre the Giant – Life and Legend


I have two main passions in my life; wrestling and comics. Sometimes, on a rare occasion, those two interests combine. In the past though, they haven’t always complimented each other very well. If you take a brief look back at the history of WWE’s comics, you’ll see a selection of cringe-worthy stories, featuring the likes of a future Kevin Nash battling post-apocalyptic mutants and the Warrior’s self-titled adventure which was completely unreadable.

Thankfully though, writer and artist Box Brown has abandoned some of the terrible WWE comic tropes for his most recent graphic novel; Andre the Giant: Life and Legend. Published by First Second, Life and Legend tells the story of the extraordinary life of Andre the Giant, a man that weighed over 500 pounds and who stood at seven and a half feet tall. His enormous physique provided him a unique life, one that pushed a young farmer into the life of pro-wrestling. Up until his untimely death in 1993, Andre the Giant had touched the hearts of many, both wrestlers and fans alike. He was featured as a heroic figure in wrestling in Japan and the WWE, and most people will also remember him for his role in The Princess Pride (anybody want a peanut?).


Upon reading Box Brown’s introduction, it’s clearly evident that the cartoonist has an extremely strong passion towards the strange world of pro-wrestling. He describes some key terms as best possible, and highlights that Andre the Giant is one of the most inspirational figures in the history of wrestling. He may have had his human complexities, but deep down, he represented all that was good about professional wrestling. He was a hero to many, and Box Brown showcases his remarkable story throughout this graphic novel.

Box Brown’s work is undeniably fluid, and there’s no fault with the stylistic choice that he employs. His previous work has included strips for Wired, Everything Dies and Bellen!, which all feature his quirky style, bearing a small resemblance to Chris Ware. If anything, Brown is the perfect artist to capture the great life of Andre the Giant. His large stature is recognised throughout the book, and wrestlers are identifiable. His cartoonish Hulk Hogan for example, is spot on.

Andre’s interesting life is captured brilliantly in Life and Legend, and it all flows rather nicely. There are some points when the momentum is shifted somewhat, but everything fits well into the frame of this biographical take on the Giant. Memorable events in his career are put through a great narrative structure, allowing readers who aren’t familiar with the wrestling world to follow the pace easily. When Brown gets to the legendary match between Andre and Hogan at Wrestlemania III, he captures the spirit of wrestling perfectly. It is wonderfully recreated from panel to panel, all with Brown’s pleasing visual style.


There’s a certain charm which is brought into this story, which is of course helped with Brown’s style. Even when Andre isn’t in the ring, it’s still a stimulating read. Humorous anecdotes of Andre’s ability to consume copious amounts of alcohol are featured in the book, along with his daily struggle of his crippling disability, acromegaly.

There are a number of myths that surround Andre’s legacy, but the book manages to capture the humanity of the Giant without taking any liberties. Whilst researching the life of Andre, Brown had to deal with a selection of stories which were told by wrestlers, stories that may have been embellished by their own feelings towards the legend. Life and Legend though, gives a fair portrayal of Andre, with a gratifying storytelling technique. It all seems grounded, despite Andre being such an unbelievable figure.

Looking at the stars of the WWE today, there are many athletes who have remarkable backgrounds and unique talents. John Cena for instance, has carried the WWE for the past decade. Love him or hate him, he has done some incredible things for the company and perhaps one day John Cena may warrant a poignant tale of his life, and the same applies with Hulk Hogan and the Undertaker, but Life and Legend shows readers that Andre the Giant was truly one of a kind. He was larger than life back in the 80s, and his legacy will be remembered for decades to come. He really was the eighth wonder of the world.


Life and Legend paints a perfect portrait of one of the greatest figures in the wrestling world, and wrestling fans will admire Box Brown’s commitment to telling a faithful and engaging story. Even those who have no real interest in wrestling should seek out the book, just for a biographical take on an astonishing legend that was loved by many. Brown brings Andre to life with his art, and it stands out as being an incredible indie comic in its own right.

So, if you find yourself as a wrestling fan, you have no excuse but to pick up this book. Even if you only admire comics – especially the ones that throw out the spandex – then go seek this out. Box Brown is making a great career out of comic books, and he’s set to provide more captivating tales for readers.

Best Graphic Novel of 2013 – Godzilla: The Half-Century War


Godzilla: The Half-Century War is IDW’s retelling of Godzilla’s first terrifying reign of destruction, by writer and artist, James Stokoe. Collected in a graphic novel earlier in June, Godzilla: The Half-Century War undoubtedly proved itself to be one of the best comics of the year.

The story follows young lieutenant Ota Muramaki, who obsessively chases the King of Monsters around the world for almost 50 years. Joined by his friend, pilot Kentaro Yoshihara; they both work alongside the ‘Anti Megalosaurus Force’, in an attempt to thwart the formidable force of nature.

One thing is clearly evident when reviewing Godzilla: The Half-Century War; James Stokoe is obviously one of the finest artists working in the industry right now. His earlier work, such as Orc Stain and Wonton Soup, have previously showcased his great talent, and this comic is no exception.


Stokoe manages a level of detail which is unparalleled, with artwork that is extremely meticulous and hyperkinetic. Right down to the monsters scales, to the collapsed buildings and even the enormous explosions, there’s not a single panel in this comic that is devoid of intricate detailing.

There’s a hell of a lot commitment put into these pages, and it has a true cinematic feel to it. The splash pages in particular are stunning, and it helps that Stokoe adds hand-lettering into the wonderful mix, as it provides just that little bit of added character.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a typical Godzilla story without any appearances from various other Kaijus in the series. Familiar faces turn up throughout, and Ota Muramaki is faced up against some classic monstrosities, such as Rodan, Mothra and even Megalon. Their appearances add a nice dynamic to the story, making it clear that there are varying amounts of benevolence and antagonism here.


The story’s length isn’t necessarily long, but the transgression of time works well with each chapter. Ota looks more and more grizzled and worn with every Kaiju encounter, and the clear destructive scope of Godzilla is recognised through some great sequential panels.

Stokoe clearly has a lot of love for the character and the lore here, as he provides a story worthy for any diehard Godzilla fan. It has a wonderful narrative throughout. Comics shelves have been without any memorable Godzilla comics in recent years, but Godzilla: The Half-Century War changes that completely.

Admittedly, it’s a surprise that James Stokoe completed Godzilla: The Half-Century War before the end of the year. Orc Stain hasn’t been completed after four years of its publication, and there was a little ‘furore’ over Sullivan’s Sluggers. Hopefully he finishes more projects just as quickly in the future, because his work is just too damn good.

He is undoubtedly one of the best artists working today, and Godzilla: The Half-Century War could even be classed as a comic book masterpiece. It turned out to be one of the most enjoyable reads of 2013, and it’s the perfect comic to discover just before Legendary Pictures long anticipated Godzilla reboot. If you haven’t checked out one of the best graphic novels of the year yet, then do so. You won’t regret it.

Top 2012 Stuff – Comics

3. Daredevil


Mark Waid’s Daredevil has become one of Marvel’s most consistently gratifying reads of 2012.  Even after 20 issues and a variation of artists, the title has managed to grab readers with some solid storytelling and artwork.

Everyone’s favourite blind lawyer has always had it rough, and that’s no secret.  For this new volume of Daredevil, Waid desired that the man without fear actually won once in a while.  Whilst Bendis and Brubaker’s runs were phenomenal, there’s only so many times Daredevil can lose a loved one.  So, to keep the comic fresh and entertaining, Waid mixed that old formula up and spruced it up with a new selection of foes for Daredevil to face-off against.

Amongst the new selection of villains, this year saw the arrival of the Coyote, in an arc which was shocking, horrifying and downright amazing.  Yes, Daredevil came face to face with a foe who meddled in some human trafficking, in a horrid way that has never really been explored before.  This arc proved that Waid realises what he’s doing with Daredevil, and he’s utilising the character in ways that haven’t been approached for years.

Chris Samnee has also been a wonderful artist for the title, managing Waid’s desired tone for the book with some fantastic work.  For those who were concerned with the book’s art after Rivera’s departure, don’t fret as Samnee is a superb fit for the title.

If you haven’t got round to reading this title yet, then get on it.  There’s mystery, suspense, action and comedy all packed into one – what more could you ask for in a comic book?  Waid is a great writer and that’s been evident in his past series – such as Fantastic Four – but Daredevil may be one of his best titles to date.  Even after its success last year, it still continues to be one of Marvel’s bests.

2. Hawkeye


Oh look, another Marvel title has managed to find its way into the top three.  This time round, it’s a comic book series on that Avenger guy.  You know, that one with the bow and arrow.  Hawkguy.

This year saw the release of Hawkeye, by critically acclaimed writer Matt Fraction (Casanova, The Immortal Iron Fist), and renowned artist David Aja (The Immortal Iron Fist).  A creative team comprised of two of the hottest talents in the industry, Hawkeye has become a title which has received much praise, and many reprints.  There’s no surprise there, as this is Fraction and Aja on top form.

Hawkeye can easily be picked up by new readers at any given time, due to Fraction’s decision for every issue to be a self-contained story.  This idea allows for more breathing space, as Fraction is able to entertain readers with unique tales with every instalment.  His storytelling is matched perfectly by David Aja, who has an uncanny knack for utilising panels in a most effective manner.

The third issue of Hawkeye is a clear example of this, as a lengthy car chase actually feels animated.  It’s no surprise if you’ve checked out the artist’s work before, but it’s such a delight to see a unique style in a comic book about Clint Barton.

Aja’s pencils are also brought to life with an amazing colour palette, courtesy of Matt Hollingsworth.  Subtle blends of purple are splattered across the comic, enforcing the archer’s favourite choice of colour.  It’s a stunning mix of talent, which almost makes you forget you’re reading a Marvel comic due to its unique and exciting indie feel.

Get on it.  Bro.

1. Saga


This year’s best comic arrived in the form of Saga.  A new title by Image comics, Saga heralded the return of the mighty Brian K Vaughan (Y: The Last Man, Runaways), alongside artist Fiona Staples (North 40, Mystery Society).

Saga tells the story of two lovers from opposing war factions, who are fleeing authorities and bounty hunters with their newborn baby, Hazel.  It’s essentially a space opera story, wrought with emotion, suspense and action.  It typically reads like a Vaughan comic, which is always a good thing.   

Fiona Staples is the artist that joins Vaughan for his new title, and she brings to the comic an amazing set of colours, which matches her fantastic drawings and concepts.  The alien races, ships and covers are all designed by Staples, showcasing her incredible talent.

The artwork can be identified as being slightly similar to those of animation cels, which have a strong focus on the character, placed along with some fantastic detailed backgrounds.  Her art is unique, and that’s why Vaughan desired her for the comic.

From a business stand-point, Saga also blows everything out of the water.  Its first issue was priced at the low cost of $2.99, for double the amount of pages a comic that price would normally have.  Once the first six issues were complete, they were collected in a graphic novel for the silly price of $9.99.  Thankfully, this has enabled many readers to pick up on such an amazing title.

Saga is undoubtedly a return to form for Brian K Vaughan, who has told some of the best stories in comic books ever.  This may sound like a slight exaggeration, but he is a breath of fresh air with his storytelling methods.  He understands development, gut-wrenching emotion and comedy.

If you haven’t got round to reading Saga, then do so immediately.  There’s a reason it’s being lauded by other critics as one of the best reads of the year.  You won’t regret it.