Friday 22 June 2012


How I Met Your Mother
7x18 Karma
[Watch it (again) on 4oD.]

Rules of Engagement
1x02 The Birthday Deal
More random late-night comedy viewing. It was quite good, as these things go.

2x06 Episode 6 [season finale]
I really enjoyed the first series of Silk, but I think it's been even better this year. Just fantastic stuff. How good is Maxine Peake? That first meeting with Jody Farr, the number of emotions and feelings she puts into it just by being there... Brilliant. And let's not forget Neil Stuke as Billy -- he could be a very simplistic, single-dimensioned character, but he too brings so much to the role.
So glad there's going to be a third run. Long may it continue.
[Watch it (again) in HD on iPlayer.]


Batman #10 by Scott Snyder & Greg Capullo

This seemed to be all over twitter when it came out nine days ago, so it's nice to finally be able to catch up with it (Forbidden Planet (.com) may be slow at sending comics out sometimes, but the fact I can do a whole month's order for flat-rate p&p and get it delivered every week (even if it's late) is what keeps me coming back).

And wow did it deserve the hype! The Court of Owls storyline has been fantastic on the whole, and this is the start of a blinding climax (it finishes next issue). Both Snyder's writing and Capullo's art are incredible -- the issue contains three splash pages, which normally means a dearth of story, but each exists for a reason: they pack a punch, and there's more than enough plot elsewhere to make up for it. Sure, the main talking point is a final-pages revelation/twist, and that's justifiably been much-discussed, but it's the overall quality of the storytelling (from both writer and artist) that makes this exceptional. (For a spoilersome interview with Snyder discussing his thinking behind the twist, the entire story arc, and his future plans, look here.)

The Snyder/Tynion-penned, Albuquerque-drawn backup The Fall of the House of Wayne continues with its second part (of three). I wasn't sold on the first part (the backup strips in general across The New 52 have felt like a waste of space to me), but this one really sells its worth. It builds up on the backstory hinted at in the main strip, making it feel an essential part of the story.

This is 100% wonderful. Next issue's concluding parts can't come soon enough.

Before Watchmen: Minutemen #1 by Darwyn Cooke

Another big, much-discussed comic. DC's summer event begins here. Well, I say summer event -- it's 35 issues (across seven miniseries) and will go on until the end of January. Not so summery. But it is a big, controversial event, for all kinds of reason that have been discussed to death across the internet, so I shan't be going into them here.

Personally, I really enjoyed this issue. Cooke's art is perfectly suited to a classic-styled '30s/'40s book, and the typical-Watchmen hard-edge (criminals pissing themselves, heroes paying off the cops, explicit swearing, etc) undercuts it nicely. Plus his compositions are visually arresting, making it a joy to behold all round. Phil Noto's colours compliment this perfectly.

Then Cooke's storytelling is very good to boot. This is clearly the very beginning of a multi-part tale -- but that's fine, so is the original Watchmen. Here he introduces each of the eight Minutemen one by one. Some get more time than others, suggesting relative importance, but with just six issues and so many characters that's always going to happen. And nonetheless, it feels longer than the usual modern 20-page book. That's partly because it's 26 pages, but still, it's super.

It's hard to judge an entire comic objectively on what is almost entirely setup for the rest of the story -- that hasn't stopped some laying into it, apparently forgetting that Watchmen was a longer tale told in smaller parts too. I think this is a solid opening with much promise, even if the ending is a bit unclear (is that supposed to be a cliffhanger? If so, how so?), and I look forward to the rest. Wise decision by DC to start here, I feel.

Linking the 35 issues together in their publication order is backup strip The Curse of the Crimson Corsair: The Devil in the Deep...! (to give the full title as rendered in the book), by Len Wein and John Higgins, included in two-page chunks. Whether there will be multiple Crimson Corsairs stories or it's 70 pages of The Devil in the Deep, I don't know.

This is less successful than the main story, unfortunately. If it's meant to be a contemporaneous comic (as readers may remember, in the Watchmen universe the presence of real-life heroes meant pirate comics were the most popular genre, not superheroes) then the art & colouring is far too modern. Even if it isn't, it's scuppered by only being two pages long -- that's nothing like enough to get a feel or tell a good chunk of story. It attempts to nonetheless, meaning it's stuffed with dialogue boxes instead of telling the story through art. Presumably it will somehow end up commenting on the main story, much like Tales of the Black Freighter did in the original, though how that's supposed to happen when it's spread across seven separate miniseries I don't know.


Clive James: 'I’m not dead yet!’
by Clive James (from The Telegraph)

Remember what I said about Clive James? Turns out, not so much with the imminent death. But this is more than just a "it's not true" -- it's a great piece on the media.

Collection Count

Collection Count tracks my DVD/Blu-ray collection via a number of statistics every week.

Very minor additions this week. Not much schedule for the foreseeable future, actually, just the odd one here or there. Loads in September though. Loads.

Number of titles in collection: 1,495 [up 2]
Of which DVDs: 1,157 [up 1]
Of which Blu-rays: 338 [up 1]

Number of discs in collection: 3,705 [up 2]
Number of films in collection: 1,581 [up 1]
Number of TV episodes in collection: 5,532 [no change]

See you next week, faithful reader.