Comic Review: The Ballad of Halo Jones

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This comic came out of the blue at me a little bit. I’d sort of come across it in the past in name only, and then boom, I saw that they re released it as a colourised version, and thought yeah, I’ll give it a go its Alan Moore after all, his work is usually pretty strong, and so I found myself picking up a copy of volume one of the Ballad of Halo Jones.

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Its a really good, but simple tale, Girl is really fed up with the world in which shes living and this is really highlighted by the shopping trip from hell. Alan Moore manages to portray a real world gone to shit in just a short number of pages and set up a real in depth history and a load of interesting cultures within that world.

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For his early work Moore’s writing is still showing the in depth nature that we have come to expect, the Art by Ian Gibson really does throw you in a the deep end of this alien infested future scape, and manages to blend the ideals of future dystopia with that of small town girl looking for an escape route. I look forward to picking up volumes 2 and 3 in the very near future.

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Street Surgery

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This morning I took part in a street surgery with my local MP Nick Thomas Symonds and One of the local borough Councillor’s Dave Daniels and leader of Torfaen Council Councillor Anthony Hunt. It was good to get out an about in the fresh air and pick up some ward work to keep me going.

The Ballad Of Jimmy Olsen

One of the most unsung heroes of all of comics is Jimmy Olsen.

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Superman’s sometime son, sometime sidekick and always Pal, Jimmy Olsen first appeared with a little cameo all the way back in Action Comics #6 in 1938, but wasn’t actually given a name for a whole two years until Superman #13.

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Jimmy was a cub reporter and junior photographer working alongside Clark Kent and Lois Lane at the Daily Planet, and has been one of Superman’s closest confidants for 80 years.

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I don’t know why I like Jimmy Olsen as a character so much, maybe its that he’s a fellow ginger who frequently rocks a bow tie? Or maybe its that I just like taking the mick out of his Superman obsession? Who knows? But in spite of being a supposedly powerless civillian and sometime sidekick, Jimmy has enjoyed a whole host of temporary powers from time to time making him both hero and villain.

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His powers have included:

  • Speed Demon – In 1956, a month before the debut of Barry Allen as the new Flash, Jimmy drank a potion produced by a Professor Claude and briefly gained super-speed.
  • Radioactive – After being exposed to a radioactive substance, Jimmy began to irradiate everything in his presence.
  • Super-Brain – Jimmy briefly evolved into a “man of the future” with superhuman mental powers.
  • Monstrous beard growth — The machinations of the sinister Beard Band cause Jimmy to grow an immense beard.
  • Gorilla – When Jimmy switched minds with a gorilla, he went about his reporting duties as a gorilla in Jimmy’s clothes.
  • Elastic Lad – As Elastic Lad, Jimmy by serum or by alien virus could sometimes stretch himself, akin to Elongated Man or Plastic Man. As Elastic Lad, Jimmy was inducted as an Honorary Member of the Legion of Super-Heroes.
  • Alien-form – Aliens transformed Jimmy into a telepathic Jovian for a week.
  • Fire-Breather – An accident involving an experiment gives Jimmy fire-breath.
  • Human Octopus – After eating an extraterrestrial fruit, Jimmy grew four extra arms. According to Superman, this was actually a hallucination, but Jimmy suspected that Superman said this to teach him a lesson since Jimmy had foolishly ignored advice from the Man of Steel that would’ve saved him a lot of trouble.
  • Genie – Jimmy found a genie’s lamp and was tricked into replacing its villainous occupant.
  • Wolf-Man – In the vein of the 1957 Michael Landon film I Was a Teenage Werewolf, Jimmy found himself transformed into a werewolf.
  • Morbidly Obese – Jimmy tried to get fat in an attempt to stop a jewel smuggling and to impress a Circus Fat Lady.
  • Giant Turtle Man – One of Jimmy’s most frequently cited transformations was that of his turning into a giant turtle man.
  • Human Porcupine – After rejecting the romantic advances of an imp from the 5th Dimension.
  • Bizarro Jimmy – Although Jimmy has a counterpart on Bizarro World, he was briefly turned into a Bizarro himself.
  • Hippie – Investigating a colony of hippies at “Guru Kama’s Dream Pad”, Jimmy grew a beard and participated in a mock “hate-in”. On the cover of this story’s issue, Jimmy is wielding a sign that says “Superman is a freak-out!”
  • Viking – Jimmy put on Viking armor and mistakenly thought he’d been transported 1000 years backward in time.
  • Steelman – after a volcanic eruption hurls Jimmy and an experimental inter-dimensional travel device into an alternate universe, Jimmy develops his own superpowers as a result of the transit to the (unnamed) “Earth-X” but is vulnerable to fragments of Mount Tipton from his own universe (“Tiptonite”). He adopts a fusion Superman/Batman outfit and launches his own superhero career as Steelman, facing a Joker-masked Clark Kent, secretly the leader of the LUTHAR League before his return to his own universe of origin.
  • Ultra Olsen – Jimmy gained from Professor Lang and his father 2 halves of to the Magic Medallion of the Mayans that, when fused back together, granted him “The Powers of the Mayan Gods”. While he wore it, he possessed super strength, invulnerability, anti-gravity power, and lightning vision. It was revealed the amulet had a limited charge and required recharge from absorbed kinetic energy. Jimmy destroyed the amulet with his lightning vision after the second time he used it.

I still cant work out why I like Jimmy Olsen as a character so much, Maybe its because he is such a nerdy hopeless sad sack of a character that just grows on you.  but c’est la vie.

30 Comics To Read Before You’re 30 Part Three

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In Part One and Part Two we have got through two thirds of the comics that I recommend you check out before you reach 30 years young, here is the final third of the list.

Batman Dark Knight Dynasty 

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Different Batmen throughout time battle against the immortal villain Vandal Savage

Lost Girls

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A rather graphic look at the sexual exploits of Wendy Darling from Peter Pan, Dorothy Gale from the Wizard of Oz and Alice Liddel from Alices Adventures in Wonderland. Its definately a new twist on the original characters.

The Superior Spider-Man: My Own Worst Enemy 

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Peter Parker is dead, long live Spider-man, Otto Octavious, has taken over the mind and body of Peter Parker and is determined to live out the rest of his days as a superior Spider-Man.

Judge Dredd: America 

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A stark look at the lives effected by the brutal rule of the Judges of Mega City One. Read my review here. 

Death: High Cost of Living 

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Once a century Death of the endless takes on Human flesh to better understand the soles of those she is sworn to take. Read my review here.

Wisdom: Rudiments of Wisdom

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Her Majesties very own chain smoking mutant super spy, join Pete Wisdom and his crack team of Aliens, anachronisms, octogenarians, empaths and a Beatle as they take on the threats to the realm that are just to weird to call in the police for.

Flesh The Dino Files

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Time travelling cowboys go back in time to rustle some dinosaurs, all because in the future we’ve run out of animals to eat and man kind still has a hankering for flesh, need I say more? If I do, read my review here.

The Son Of Superman 

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Superman is missing, presumed dead, and all of a sudden his son develops superpowers. Read my review here. 

The New Invaders: Once an Invader

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The New Invaders were formed to take down a Neo Nazi organisation formed by the Red Skull, and features such classic Heroes as the original Human Torch, Union Jack, US Agent, Spitfire, The Blazing Skull and the Thin Man all working together to take down the Axis Mundi.

Harlem Heroes 

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The odds on favourites for the world Aeroball championships suddenly lose half their team to a sabotaged bus, so in the wake of this tragedy, the team must pull together, train some rookies, catch their comrades murderer and bring the Aeroball World Championship back home to Harlem. Read my review here. 

If you liked this check out part one and part two of the thirty comics you should read before you’re 30

30 Comics To Read Before You’re 30 Part Two

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In part one we looked at a whole host of comics for you to sink your teeth into,

Annihilation 

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Marvels first big cosmic event that didn’t have the words infinity in the title. What happens when a host of bugs annihilates the universe, a rag tag band of the heroes and villains from across the universe comes together to  save the universe from annihilation.

Judge Dredd Complete Case files Volume One

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A look at the early cases of the lawman of the future. Feel the thrill power build as you meet Judge Dredd and the world in which he lives. Read my review here.

Sandman: Preludes and Nocturnes 

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The first instalment of Neil Gaiman’s saga of the king of dreams and how his being impacts those both in dreams and in the waking world. Read my review here.

Project Superpowers 

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Take a great deal of superheroes from the public domain and then put them all together to form a super team, there you have Project Super Powers.

X-Men Messiah Complex

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Mutants are dying out, they’re an endangered species, and then suddenly a new mutant is born, and then all hell breaks loose.

Nikolai Dante Too Cool To Kill

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A Russian rogue, realises hes Romanov Royalty… in the future. This entitles him to some pretty cool weapons tech and puts him right at the heart of a lifestyle of immense intrigue and opulent luxury, all wrapped up in a sleazy charm and vodka soaked allurement. Read my review here.

Captain Atom: Armageddon 

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DC’s attempt at making its Wildstorm property more accessible to readers of its mainstream DC stuff, by taking a DC hero and throwing them into the deep end of the Wildstorm universe, just before it was rebooted.

Green Hornet Year One

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A look at the first year of operations of the Green Hornet and his faithful manservant Kato as they route out crime and corruption whilst posing as the criminals themselves.

The Eternals

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Forgotten heroes, erased from time, woken by the call of one of their own, Old heroes reimagined for the modern marvel universe all from the pen of legendary author Neil Gaiman and drawn by the equally legendary John Romita Jr.

Scarlet Traces

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The sequel to H G Well’s War Of The Worlds which sees the British Empire flourishing all with the help of reverse engineered Martian War Machines. Read my review here. 

Join again tomorrow for part three of the 30 comic books and series that you should check out before you become 30 years old

 

30 Comics To Read Before You’re 30 Part One

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I’m going to be thirty in just over a year, and whilst I’m ok with hitting that milestone, at least for the moment, so I’ve already got a big list of comics that I want to read by the time I get over the hill and now I’ve come up with a big list of the comics that you should read by the time that you hit that milestone too.

Watchmen

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Alan Moores dystopian nightmare that takes a group of vigilante’s to the edge of Armageddon and beyond.

Hellboy: Seed Of Destruction

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Hellboy The Seed of Destruction introduces us to the son of Satan who is determined to prove that the apple can indeed fall far from the tree.

Civil War

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Captain America vs Iron Man with the rest of the Marvel Universe in the middle, and all over the right to have secret identity

Button Man

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Meet Harry Ex,  a killer embroiled in a deadly game, all at the command of a mysterious voice. See my review here.

Formerly Known as The Justice League

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Once upon a time, they were the worlds greatest heroes, now they’re old, washed up and ready for a come back.

The Boys: Name of the Game

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Superheroes, the glitzy and glamorous gods of the new age, all powerful and out for a good time, but what do you do when one of these titans steps out of line? You Call in the Boys.

Avengers Versus X-men

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You take a nearly extinct X-Men and give them a slightly destructive shot at reigniting their species, and then you take the Avengers, and just sit back and watch the carnage.

The Ballad of Halo Jones

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Join Halo Jones on the shopping excursion from hell, a fast paced romp from the mind behind Watchmen and V for Vendetta. Read my review here.

Identity Crisis

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How does a superhero rehabilitate a habitual recidivist? What happens when heroes disagree with these measures? And how do they put these differences to rest? Or do they?

Spawn: Creation

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Who or what is the Hellspawn, and now that its on earth, what does that mean for humanity? Check out my thoughts on it here

Join again tomorrow for the next in this three parter chronicling the 30 comic books and series that you should check out before you become 30 years old

If you like this post check out part Two and Three.

 

Comic Review: Flesh

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Flesh was something that I wanted to take a look at, after reading the sort of sequel that takes place during Judge Dredd’s Cursed Earth Saga (which I’m fairly certain was ripped off completely to form the basis of the Jurassic Park series of films). I was intrigued to know the origin story of the dinosaur Old One Eye.

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The story that makes up Flesh sounds like some sort of dystopian nightmare, in which the world has run out of meat based products due to population expansion and just plain gluttony on the part of humanity, but it being the future man has developed time travel. So mankind, instead of adopting a vegetarian diet, has travelled back in time to the cretaceous period in order to take advantage of man’s lust for flesh. Yes you read that right, men from the 23rd century won’t eat their broccoli so go back in time to farm dinosaurs.

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The story reads more like a western rather than a sci fi dino romp, just with the part of the native American’s being played by a few rather vicious Tyrannosaurs. In particular the lead Tyrannosaur, the 120 year old Old One Eye, so named for the eye lost to one of the Dinosaur ranchers.

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Again this is Pat Mills at his thrill power churning finest, delivering the readers right into the worlds of both past and future simultaneously, which when you think merging dinosaurs with cowboys from the twenty third century sounds like a concept that wouldn’t work Pat Mills is the man to work that thing out.

The art is always something I feel a little fraudulent in reviewing, as my artistic talents stretch to bad stick men on a good day. But since I’m only going to say nice things about the work of Roman Sola, Boix and Felix Carrion, the hypocrisy seems to wane slightly, they all create a fantastic masterpiece and actually make you feel as though you’ve somehow been dropped right in the middle of both the cretaceous period and the 23rd century all in one fell swoop, they all manage to bring something to the major dinosaurs, and not to mention the horrible flying dino’s and even the Giant Spiders seem to just pop right out of our nightmares and onto the page, yes you read that right, Dinosaurs and Giant Spiders…and cowboys from the future… all in the same comic, and yet it still works.

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Given that dinosaur stories only ever seem to have one outcome the ending of the ranchers tale is only to be expected, although it does manage to have a little twist to make the last page have a bite to it. Coming from the golden age of 2000ad Flesh is really a title that you can sink your teeth into, and it has a good number of sequels for you to chew over as well.