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The English Assassin

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About The English Assassin

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    Taxi Driver
  • Birthday 07/24/1979

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    Bath, Somerset
  1. I've always like the notion, borrowed from Tim Powers' Last Call, that John's magic powers, such as they are, are gifted or charged-up by his acting in a way that conforms with the Fool/Trickster archetype. There is, of course, bugger all to support this idea, but it always struck me as a neat and fairly literate device for explaining magic stuff in a fictional setting.
  2. That's quite a fair point, though I'm of the opinion that the Manor storyline (Ashes and Dust in the City of Angles) managed to drag Azzarello's run further into the mire of nonsensical pish than it was to begin with. Rich the Punk, on the other hand, though he was irritating enough to spoil parts of Jenkins' run for me (and is often a focus for criticism of said run), might have been less annoying had he appeared less frequently and to more purpose. He's not, for instance, quite so profoundly irritating in Critical Mass, where he at least serves a bit of a dramatic purpose, as he is in the several stories he spends following John around looking stupid.
  3. Even in a field as strong as this, S.W. Manor succeeds in standing out. Not only did he fulfil no discernible dramatic purpose, I never even worked out what Azz was trying to achieve with him. Even the First (for whom I retain an inexplicable fondness, despite his nigh-unforgivable dim-wittedness) and Papa Midnite were written well at times (i.e. by Carey and Delano respectively), and served a narrative purpose. Manor, however, managed (like Azz's run, in my not-so-humble opinion) to be pointlessly cack from start to finish. And no, I didn't like Nigel much either. Defend Ennis as I might, crassly one-dimensional supporting characters (see also Header) remain the element of his Hellblazer run (and, indeed, his style in general) that most disappointed me.
  4. Lucifer: The Divine Comedy - (w) Mike Carey, (a) Peter Gross, Dean Ormston
  5. Regarding the First of the Fallen, I've got the impression that much of the dislike expressed towards the character originated in the fact that he wasn't half as cool or interesting as Neil Gaiman's Lucifer. I've always felt that that was to some extent Ennis' intention; he wanted to present an inversion of the suave Mephistophelian archetype of the devil in the same way Alan Moore had with that of the urbane, educated magician. That could, of course, just be wishful thinking on my part, and Garth may have just thought the devil should be a simplistic thug in a loud shirt. At least he didn't make him Oirish.
  6. Animal Man - Deus ex Machina (w) Grant Morrison, (a) Chas Truog & Doug Hazlewood
  7. I'm not much of a Star Wars buff, but, having read a friend's copies, I'd repeat the recommendation for Republic. Not only is it fairly literate by Star Wars' standards, but, in the characters of Masters Vos and Tholme, features Jedi far cooler than those who actually appeared in the films.
  8. Oh yes, regarding A Game of You and its cack-handed biro-scribbly inking, for anyone who doesn't already know, there is some good news. The Absolute Sandman Volume 2 promises, along with the usual recolouring, new inks by Colleen Doran on issue 34 (i.e. Chapter Three). Which may yet actually persuade me to pay fifty quid for a comic I've already bought twice over.
  9. I'm not sure whether that remark was made in jest or not. I feel my credentials as an angsty liberal have been well-enough established for me to be able to criticize a black character for being the protagonist of a nonsensically crappy mini-series, thank you very much. I thought that Header, who was never portrayed as anything other than an unapologetically violent thug, was a crappy character too, but that doesn't mean I hate the Scots. Speaking of stereotypes, can I nominate Biker Frank, for looking rather more like a member of the Village People than the Hell's Angel he was meant to be? And no, I don't hate gays. Or Hell's Angels. Or people called Frank. I just think the way the character was drawn looks rather daft and dated, and fails to convey what Alan Moore had in mind. Unless, of course, he really wanted Rob Halford to be one of John's mates.
  10. Like Rak, I never understood the antipathy expressed towards The Kindly Ones at the time. I only began reading the Sandman about half-way through the series, but it was only after the first few issues of The Kindly Ones that I really began to appreciate how good The Sandman actually was, not merely for being a clever, literate comic book, but as a compelling and involving narrative in its own right. Mark is, however, right to point out that it doesn't stand on its own in the way most of the other volumes do. Perhaps I should have picked The Wake instead. As for the short stories, I find it very hard to come to a definite opinion. They're probably the elements of the series I enjoyed the least at the time, but I can't help but feel the series as a whole would have been the poorer without them.
  11. The Comical Tradgedy (or Tragical Comedy) of Mr. Punch (w) Neil Gaiman (a) Dave McKean
  12. It's so hard to pick just one favourite, but it's got to be the Kindly Ones, narrowly ahead of Season of Mists and The Wake. For my least favourite, I feel obliged to pick the rather directionless Preludes and Nocturnes. The book still has quite a few good moments, but it's a bit trite in places, the art and colouring have aged badly, and it's painfully obvious that Gaiman was still developing his style (and Sandman's) as he was writing it.
  13. All the major characters that have really incurred my wrath (S.W.Manor, Rich the Punk, Chris Cole, Agent Turro et al) have already been suggested. Principally for the piss-awful mini-series, I nominate Papa Midnite.
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