Travelling Man's Blog

Review: Wild’s End-The Enemy Within Issue 1 by Travelling Man

wilds endWritten by Dan Abnett

Illustrated & Lettered by INJ Culbard

Additional material by Nik Abnett

Cover by INJ Culbard

Published by Boom!



The survivors of Lower Crowchurch have been corralled by the military. Increasingly disturbed by what they perceive as abandonment, Slipaway, Peardew and the others begin discussing escape. What they don’t realize is the army are taking things very seriously indeed and have called in Herbert Runciman and Lewis Cornfelt. Runciman is one of the acknowledged godfathers of science fiction while Cornfelt is one of its new stars. The hope is that they will be able to work out just what attacked the village. Whether they can do that before they kill each other, or the attack begins again, remains to be seen…


I loved Wild’s End, and the only thing that bothered me about it was how faintly open ended it was. Now, we can see why and judging by this issue the story is very far from over. However, Abnett sidesteps that slight dissatisfaction here in a way that not only makes logical sense but opens the series out even more. Runciman and Cornfelt’s presence in the village makes perfect sense but their perspective gives the book an idea of what life is like outside the polite, quiet warzone. It’s a brilliant idea, made all the better by how much the two authors can’t stand one another. Abnett cleverly maps the conflict between generations of genre fiction riters onto the last they’d expect; practical evidence of their ideas. The end result promises to be a huge intellectual dustup as scientific method goes up against instinct and intuition. It’s the ‘if its fun it works’ versus ‘all books should have good physics’ argument writ large. And, brilliantly, embodied in a pompous orange cat and a somewhat foppish springer spaniel.

Culbard’s work is never less than amazing and this issue is no exception. However, again the new characters help matters immensely and the increasingly angry exchange between the two authors is gloriously captured. There’s real character and intent behind each panel and you can tell the personalities of the two from their posture as much as how they speak. Elsewhere he’s as impressive on the survivors of the first series, especially a flashback to poor Slipaway’s horrific naval past and a wonderfully pompous Stag Brigadier. Like the script,e ach panel is considered and clever and serves a purpose. Along with the poignant notes from Mr Minks that Niki Abnett provides in the back, they combine to make a book that’s chilling, familiar and completely unlike anything else on the market. Pick this, and the first series, up now.


Review:John Flood Issue 1 by Travelling Man
September 21, 2015, 9:00 am
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , ,

john flood issue 1Written by Justin Jordan

Illustrated by Jorge Coelho

Colours by Tamra Bonvillain

Letters by Ed Dukeshire

Cover by Jorge Coelho

Published by Boom!



WOW this is fun. Seriously, as pilot episodes go this is about as good as they get. John Flood is a detective, and a very good one. One of the reasons for that is he doesn’t sleep.


It’s not that he can’t, it’s that he doesn’t, thanks to an experiment carried out on him years previously. He says. As a result, John’s got a lot of time on his hands and has decided to use that to do some good. It’s going well so far too. Although, Berry, his new assistant, may not think so…

Jordan excels at dialogue and he establishes John’s cheerful, unfiltered stream of verbosity from the first panel. He’s the 10th Doctor with no filter, Sherlock with a sunnier outlook. He’s also, as the final panel of the page shows, in a lot of trouble. Coelho’s art has the gangly exuberance of the series’ lead but that final panel is the one that will stay with you. John, deadly serious all of a sudden, hands covered in blood, trying to explain that something bad is coming.

That willingness to shift tone on a dime is at the core of the book. There’s a later moment with Berry where he goes from all business to completely crrushed in the space of a panel that’s heart breaking for the same reasons. If he’s Watson to Flood’s Sherlock, then this is the most mournful, guilty Watson we’ve seen in decades. In contrast, Lyta, Flood’s current assistant is cheerful, experienced in dealing with him and absolutely relentless. She’s stepping away, hence the job opening, but looks set to be back further down the line. I hope so as the three are huge fun together.

Bonvillain’s colours are a huge part of the book’s success too. She has an incredible eye for location, with the diner-set opening flooded with comforting, slightly yellow light. The forest scene that follows is entirely different and as location changes, so does the palate. It’s intuitive, subtle work and it’s always impressive. Likewise Ed Dukeshire’s lettering that catches the vast amount of information in the book faster than Berry does.

This is immensely fun, energetic storytelling. It never slows down, it never stops and it’s never less than gripping, eccentric and a joy to read. Go get it.

Review: Power Up Issue 1 by Travelling Man
August 16, 2015, 9:00 am
Filed under: Exquisite Reviews | Tags: , , ,

power up issue 1Created by Kate Leth & Matt Cummings

Written by Kate Leth

Art by Matt Cummings

Published by Boom!



Amie works at a pet store. It’s…a job…that she has to do in order to get not quite enough money to live. It’s also dull, involves her working with her insanely precise boss Karen and a visit from an alien.

Wait what?

This is so much fun from the absolute get go. Leth has a great, light touch with comedy and character and gets to show both off here. A quiet little moment between Amie and a workman is one of my favourite pages in comics this year. Likewise her interaction with Sal the coffee shop owner is lovely and sets her in a world that she’s clearly familiar with and agrees with her.

Until the alien.

That’s where Leth’s script and Cummings’ wonderful art fuse perfectly. Both have a great eye for character and nuance and together they create one of the friendliest, most welcoming comics I’ve read in years. But the alien scene is where things cut loose. Starting with a beautiful two page splash and culminating in the most unexpected action beat of the year. There’s one panel, and you’ll know when you see it, where the look on Amie’s face is exactly the look on yours and it’s glorious. Even better, it’s also clearly setting up something much larger and more complex and, odds are, even more fun.

This is an exuberant, confident funny as Hell book. It’s crammed full of gorgeous art, wonderful real looking characters and huge energy. Its brilliant fun, is only getting started and you need to place it front of your eyes immediately.

Review: The Spire Issue 1 by Travelling Man
July 10, 2015, 9:00 am
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , ,

Written by Simon Spurrier

Art by Jeff Stokely

Colours by Andrew May

Letters by Steve Wands

Cover by Jeff Stokely

Created by Simon Spurrier and Jeff Stokely

Published by Boom!


The Steeplekeep is a barnacle that thinks like a city. Or perhaps a city that’s learned to survive like a barnacle. Countless people, some ‘normal’ many Skewed with odd genetic mutations. All of them subjects of the Spire-Baron. But in the wake of his death, and a mysterious and brutal triple murder on one of the lower levels, Sha, a Skew and City Watch officer finds herself with a problem. A lot of problems actually. All to do with that murder…


Spurrier and Stokely turned in not just one of my favourite series of last year but ever with the lovely Six-Gun Gorilla. Here they trade in the gentle nightmare of that series for something that William Gibson and Bosch would be proud (And perhaps a little frightened) to have brainstormed one night. The Spire is a raucous, untidy, brutal community of the sort Spurrier excels at writing and Stokely’s feral artwork shows us its precision, brutality, caste system and beauty with equal enthusiasm. This feels like a tremendously real world that we’ve been dropped into he middle of and trusted to swim to the edge and the journey is immensely rewarding, nasty and often very funny. Sha is a wonderful lead; a cop who clearly enjoys the mild world weary nature her job gives her but is smart enough to know when to tone it down. Seeing her butt heads with, or as likely head butt, the upper classes is going to be a lot of fun.

May’s colours are a map to where we are on the Spire, deep oranges and blacks of the lower levels giving way to deep, dark green in the Throne room. Wands’ letters to change tone and poise as the series does and it’s especially interesting to see how people from different castes speak. Bold is used as a very subtle means of giving emphasis and rhythm to a couple of characters and it works really well. It also gives you the sense, rightly, that this is an immense, dangerous world to which you’re a new arrival. But, trust me, you’ll want to stay. The Spire is one of the best books released so far this year, a fiercely inventive, very funny murder mystery from some of the best creators in the field. Pick it up and discover a great story, wonderful art and one of my new favourite characters.


Advanced Review: Broken World Issue 1 by Travelling Man


Hi! This book is not out yet. However, I got a preview PDF and today is the day for Final Order Cutoff so, please, read the review and if you like the sound of it, give your store this code:




And on June 3rd, the book is yours!


Written by Frank Barbiere

Art by Christopher Peterson

Colors by Marissa Louise

Letters by Ed Dukeshire

Published by Boom!


The world is ending. With days to go, the government is evacuating the planet. The plan is simple; move everyone into arks, push on to a new world, start over.


But not everyone gets to go.


Barbiere’s script is what grabs you here, taking a global event and making it personal. Elena Marlowe is a professor with a good marriage and a loving son. She’s also, for some reason, not allowed off world. As Barbiere follows her story, we see the global events through her eyes and it’s chilling. Her last lecture is attended by five students, all desperate for distraction, her son’s kindergarten is attacked by protestors who want to ‘free’ the children and all the while the clock is ticking. Moments of normality suddenly take on more weight; is this the last family meal she’ll have? Is this the last time she’ll see her son? Will the forgery work? It’s a smart way of dealing with a massive plot and it puts a human face on the catastrophe, especially in the final scenes.


Peterson’s art and Louise’s colour work take that quiet desperation and ramp it all the way up. The colour scheme is subtle, almost muted in places as the story plays out across what seems to be perpetual sundown. It’s a smart move, emphasizing the themes of the script and the precision work of Peterson. That, along with Dukeshire’s excellent lettering leads to a page towards the end that’s unlike anything I’ve seen before. You see what the character’s see in a moment that’s beautifully drafted, elegantly built and sees the entire team on top form. And the book isn’t even done then.

This is character driven, huge scale SF from a creative team who get it absolutely. There’s not a single word or line or shade that doesn’t work and the end result is a fiercely confident start to what looks to be a very different series. If you like the sound of that, then go to the store today and give them this code:




Then, when it’s out in a couple of months, it’s yours! And you’ve helped your retailer, the creative team, the publisher AND your bad self for pre ordering an ace book that you’ll get on June 3rd. How good is that?

Review: Ufology Issue 1 (Of 6) by Travelling Man

Created & Written by James Tynion IV & Noah J. Yuenkel

Illustrated by Matthew Fox

Colours by Adam Metcalfe

Letters by Colin Bell

Cover by Matthew Fox

Designed by Jillian Crab

Published by Boom! (6 Issue mini-series)



Becky Finch is the daughter of the Mukawgee sheriff. Becky Finch is also grumpy, driven and wants nothing more than to become a cop and remain in her hometown of Muskawgee. Malcolm is the son of the local radio DJ and shares his father’s obsession with the paranormal.

Becky wants nothing to do with the outside world. Malcolm wants everything to do with other worlds. Neither of them is going to get what they want…

Tynion IV and Yuenkel’s script does two entirely unrelated things with equal grace. Becky and Malcolm are both anything but normal kids and as a result are extremely familiar. Becky’s sparky, peppery approach to the world around her could play as brattish but here just gives her an air of intelligence and maturity. She’s largely done with school, she wants to get on with the next bit of her life and is increasingly annoyed she isn’t being allowed to. Malcolm for his part is quieter, clearly traumatized and just as driven. Colin Bell’s lettering is great throughout but really shines in these scenes, it’s relaxed, unusual style evoking the small town life the two kids are alternately embracing and fighting against. In particular there’s a really smart mirroring moment where we see Becky memorizing laws and Malcolm memorizing star names that tells us everything we need to know about both of them. Both driven, both intelligent, both moving in opposite directions.

And both linked by the impossible. Fox’s art lives in the tiny details and the opening scenes are some of the most realistic, and fun, character interactions you’ll see this week. It’s the second half where his work, along with Metcalfe’s colours, comes to life though. The hallucinatory climactic scene touches on enough UFO lore to be recognizable but has a very different feel to the usual take on this kind of story. Metcalfe’s colours are eccentric and foreboding, using light shades to explore darkness and cold and Fox’s art shifts focus to match them. The intimate character scenes of the first half are replaced by people adrift in huge spaces and awful things waiting in the shadows. It’s smartly done, disturbing stuff and it takes some always interesting, but familiar background material into new and very disturbing places. Including the lives of Becky and Malcolm. Smart, confident, engrossing SF, Ufology 1 is available now.

Review: Giant Days Issue 2 by Travelling Man


Created & written by John Allison

Illustrated by Lissa Treiman

Coours by Whitney Cogar

Letters by Jim Campbell

Cover by Lissa Treiman


Published by Boom!


This issue, everyone takes drugs!

Well, sort of.


There are two things everyone who goes to University in the UK accepts; drinking is going to happen, whether to you, near you or all over you and you’re going to get ill.

Very ill.

Because inside the first four weeks, just as you arrive, so will every regional variation of the flu and they will get much, much luckier than you.

Oh and it’s all Esther’s fault, obviously. All she does is boast about how she never gets ill and then?


The second issue of this magnificent series is just as good as the first, and does a couple of very smart things. The second we’ll get to, but the first is the way Allison uses the different ways the three leads deal with getting sick to illuminate their characters. Daisy gets some ‘cold meds’, Esther tries to sleep the cold to death and ends up going full goth and Susan? Susan can’t smoke. Which means Susan can’t relax.

Or sleep.

Or eat.

She can however yell at people with both style and creativity.

Through the three different takes on illness, we learn a lot. Daisy is immensely good hearted and open and as a result runs headlong at the pep pills she’s given and hugs them. Violently. She has some of the best jokes this issue, especially in the pigeon scene but also comes out looking best of the three. Daisy’s innocent but she’s not stupid and the script never forgets that.

Esther in contrast, has kind of a bad time. We find out just how rock and roll she is (Very) and also that she’s kind of a hypochondriac. The end result is very, very funny and it also gives the uber-competent boxing Goth an endearing vulnerable edge. Esther doesn’t like being sick, she’s bad at it because it doesn’t happen often. For once, she’s a victim of her own success and that makes an already likable character outright sweet. Not that you should ever tell her that…

And then there’s Susan, whose nicotine rage gives her an excuse to yell at Daisy, McGraw and we suspect passing clouds. She drives the plot this issue in a way that’s so subtle you almost miss it. And so does she. Again, the cold brings out some new sides to her character and, again, it’s hugely likeable.

Oh and this issue features the best pigeon jokes ever written. Seriously.

Then there’s the really clever bit. Cogar’s colours are an integral part of the plot in a way that’s impossible to not comment on and easy to spoil. Keep an eye out for the gag because it’s one of the best, and cleverest I’ve seen and, like everything else here, is note-perfect. Seriously, this book may be the most entertaining thing anyone is putting out right now. Allison’s script is glorious, Cogar’s warm, friendly colours fit Treiman’s expressive and witty artwork perfectly and Campbell’s letters help every joke land dead on. It’s funny, sweet, familiar and vastly inventive. My book of the year so far, and everything else will have to go some to beat it. Brilliant stuff.

Review: Cluster Issue 1 by Travelling Man

Written and lettered by Ed Brisson

Illustrated by Damien Couceiro

Colours by Michael Garland

Covers by James Stokoe



Samara Simmons had one bad night. At the end of it, a friend was dead and she was looking at a lifetime in prison.

Samara Simmons was given a choice. Life in prison or 15 years of indentured military servitude from prison. Die in chains or survive 15 years and go home with a full pardon.

Samara Simmons thinks she’s going to war.

War is coming to her.


I’m a sucker for a good science fiction war series and this is off to a great start. There’s a pleasing density to the background, a sense that everything fits together and has been thought through. Brisson’s script walks us through the premise, introduces us to the other inhabitants of Midlothian and upends Samara’s expectations all in the space of a single issue. There’s a lot going on here but it feels measured and confident. This is a book that, like Samara, has nothing but time on its hands.

It’s also a script with a hell of a cast. Quiet, resigned Halleran, the inmate/commanding officer is fun as is punky, puky Grace. But it’s Slarreg you’ll remember. Picture an angry, faceless whale crossed with a slug and dropped into a basically humanoid body. That’s Slarreg and Slarreg is immense, violent, stabby, shooty, shouty fun.

This ragtag group of bastards and misfits is brought to life with brawny energy by Damien Couceiro. This book plays like the best movie John Carpenter hasn’t made yet and a lot of that comes down to Couceiro’s skill. The characters are well designed and desperately fragile, the action is fast, nasty and neatly played and Midlothian is a totally credible location. Garland’s colours help a lot, especially in the sequences dirtside on Midlothian. Everything looks hot and red and washed out and the planet feels like a real, nasty place instead of a location.

In fact, the entire book doesn’t play like a nervous new series. It’s more like a veteran, well established series that’s run for years and this is a perfect jumping on point. It’s that complete a world, that confident a piece of work and that much fun to read. So visit Midlothian this week. But remember, you may be able to leave but Samara can’t. Yet…

Review: Burning Sands Issue 1 by Travelling Man

Written by Michael Moreci & Tim Daniel

Illustrated by Colin Lorimer

Colours by Joana Lafuente

Letters by Jim Campbell

Cover by Colin Lorimer

Published by Boom!



There’s a mistaken belief that you leave war behind. You don’t. Every soldier I’ve ever known has come back changed from serving, leaving something of themselves behind even as they return home. There’s no completion, no sense of standing down, no mission accomplished. There’s an experience, a broken limb of memory and conscience that heals but heals different. On one side of it is you before you left. On the other side is you when you came back.

Dana Atkinson, the lead in Moreci and Daniel’s script, is walking wounded. In the middle of a simmering underworld cold war she’s pulled out by Nelson R.Kendrick. Kendrick is ex-military, like Dana. Unlike Dana, he had the chance to make peace with his past. Kendrick has adapted and overcome, Dana has done neither. Which is why she jumps at the chance That and the fact her luck’s starting to run out…

This hits the ground running and never lets up. Kendrick and Dana in Chicago, as well as Detective Aban Farsad in Kirkuk, find themselves handling a deeply disturbing homicide. Dana and Kendrick have dealt with Verge, the firm at the heart of the case before. Farsad hasn’t. They work the case from different angles until Moreci and Daniel bring them together in a moment that makes perfect sense and pushes the plot even faster. It’s indicative of just how smart this script is; it does three different things at once while giving each character room to breathe and constantly raising the stakes. By the end of the first issue we’ve been introduced to Farsad, Kendrick and Dana, got a good idea of just who’s opposing them and discovered just how out of their depth they and their adversaries are. It’s smart, tightly packed stuff and you’ll want the next issue as soon as this one’s done.

The art’s a big part of that. Lafuente’s colours are stark and effective, especially in the night time standoff at the end of the issue. Lorimer’s work is detailed and expressive but just a little scratchy, making the pages play like Jock’s work but with added tension. Combined with Campbell’s letters it makes the issue play like a good Michael Mann movie. Tense, complex and driven. A great start to what looks like a hell of a series.

Review: The Woods Volume 1 by Travelling Man

Written by James Tynion IV

Art by Michael Dialynas

Colours by Josan Gonzalez

Letters by Ed Dukeshire

Published by Boom!



October 16th 2013 is the last day Bay Point Preparatory High School, 437 of its staff, 52 of its teachers and 24 other staff spent on Earth. In an instant the school was transported to an alien planet and dropped into the middle of a hostile wilderness. The deaths started almost immediately. The chaos took a little longer.

You know that feeling you get at the end of a really good pilot episode? That sense that everything is under control and the characters and plot you enjoyed are going to unspool at exactly the right pace for a good long time?

You’ll have that feeling at the end of this book.

Tynion IV’s script splits wastes no time at all getting down to business and has a refreshingly up front, fast paced approach to the consequences of the school’s new ‘home’. Other books would have spun a good two years of stories out of the gradual breakdown of order and the teaching faculty turning on itself and the kids alike. Tynion IV gets it done in this volume and never feels rushed either. There’s a clear eyed look at humanity here and the sheer terror of the situation skews some of the characters very dark very fast. You’ll be pretty sure about what’s going on in the first issue. You will be surprised by the last, as he yanks the rug out from under you and the characters alike.

Not that they aren’t up to making him fight for it. Tynion IV has an excellent ear for dialogue and that’s absolutely on display here. The school feels, for want of a better comparison, like the Galactica in the opening minutes of the reboot mini-series. There’s a sense of story and history to it, of us dropping in on ongoing conversations instead of being handed a cheat sheet and expected to chew our way through it. That subtlety is a nice contrast to the savagery and gives each character some very welcome light and shade. Adrian, the outsider genius who’s convinced he knows what’s going on is especially well drawn that way, as is large, quiet, sad Ben and Karen Jacobs, trapped in the awful position of being the smart, good kid who isn’t quite enough of either to get noticed. You’ll recognise these people. You’ll have been some of these people.

Dialynas’ art is exactly as grounded as it needs to be and the creature designs are a glorious combination of pulpy and predatory. The action when it hits does so fast and hard and Gonzalez’s colours do a great job of showing just how different this world is and, by extension, how dangerous. Ed Dukeshire’s letters are subtly handled and allow some nice visual gags in the opening pages too.

This is confident, smart, horrific science fiction. Everyone involved knows what they’re doing and, while it seems like we’ll be lost in the woods for a while, we couldn’t hope for better guides.

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