Travelling Man's Blog

Review:John Flood Issue 1 by Travelling Man
September 21, 2015, 9:00 am
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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.

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: Suffrajitsu Issue 1 by Travelling Man

Written by Tony Wolf

Illustrated by João Viera

Colours by Josan Gonzales

Letters by Ed Dukeshire

Published by Jet City Comics

London, 1914 and the Suffragette movement is in the middle of all-out war with the Police. The idea of women receiving the vote has sent shockwaves through the establishment. Emmeline Pankhurst’s message was violently suppressed anywhere it could be, and the very men who claimed to be protecting women from the burden of voting were often the same ones who physically assaulted the Suffragettes.

The Suffragettes fought back. Groups trained in Jujitsu and Bartitsu became bodyguards for other protestors and the physical conflict became far more of an even playing field than it had been. These women fought and bled for their rights and it’s their fight that forms the basis of this book.

Wolf’s script introduces us to a large group of characters with confidence and grace. Persephone Wright, Katie Sandwina, Flossie Le Mar, Toupie Lowther and the others are all established historical figures who Wolf has smartly, and slightly, repositioned. This is the toughest thing the book does, the one place it steps where it’s center of gravity is off. Done wrong, placing characters like this in a fictional story would do nothing but belittle their work and courage.

Suffrajitsu is done very, very right. Wolf’s script crackles with energy and documented historical events, but uses them to cleverly spin the book into a thriller rather than an overt historical piece. If you know the period, you’ll recognize some events. If you don’t, read this, then read up on the period. It’s extraordinary and Wolf honors it, and his characters, while spinning them off into what looks to be a Sherlockian story of espionage and murder.

Plus this is really fun. It’s crammed full of brilliant characters, the story is unlike anything else on the market and Viera’s artwork is a perfect fit. There’s enough detail to honor the time period but it’s tempered by the fluidity needed to keep the action moving. The fights, and there are several, are grounded and nasty, giving the book a welcome dose of bloody-nosed realism and the colors, by Gonzales coat the entire thing in a Victorian palate that’s subtle and realistic. Dukeshire’s letters round everything off, as at home with narration and correspondence as they are with dialogue.

Tough, clever, smart unique storytelling, Suffrajitsu is the most unique, and entertaining, comic series you’ll read this month. Go get it, and discover an amazing story drawn from an amazing piece of history.

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.

Review: Deep State Issue 1 by Travelling Man


Written by Justin Jordan

Illustrated by Ariela Kristantina

Colours by Ben Wilsonham

Letters by Ed Dukeshire

Published by Boom!



Oh Deep State, you had me at ‘The problem with secrets is that they don’t want to stay that way.’ Which is the first line.

In the first panel.

Branch is a brilliant, dogged analyst who refuses to let cases go. Harrow is a name a man who has stepped outside society for reasons he believes are right is using today. He’s an agent of the oldest, deepest conspiracy on the planet. Branch, a woman who can’t not seek the truth, has just been offered the keys to their toybox.

How could she say no?

I love conspiracy fiction and apparently so does Justin Jordan. There’s a refreshing lack of hanging around as Jordan’s heroine is inducted and on her first case inside the first issue. It’s a doozy too, taking in the over looked but immensely fertile ground of the secret history of space travel. It’s lovely background material and fascinating reading in its own right. Google ‘black knight satellite’ in particular and get comfy. This stuff is loopy and wonderful.

So’s the comic. Jordan concentrates on plot over character and that makes a lot of sense given how deep this world is. All we know about Harrow is he’s immensely competent and experienced. All we know about Branch is she doesn’t quit and she’s brilliant. There’s not quite the clean Scooby Dichotomy of Mulder the believer and Scully the skeptic but something rather more nuanced and fun. One is fascinated by her new job, the other is a little blasé about it. It’s a fun set up that, coupled with the tremendous amount of detail clearly in the world, means this is going to be a fun book for a long time.

That’s backed up by the art too, with Kristantina’s style a great combination of detailed and scratchy that leads to a killer final page. Wilsonham’s colours are exactly the sort of slightly muted grim atmosphere the book needs and Dukeshire’s lettering is subtle and very well placed. The result is a book that feels like a really good pilot episode; confident, fun, fast paced and clever. I’ll definitely be back for episode 2.

The Empty Man Issue 1 by Travelling Man

Created and written by Cullen Bunn
Art by Vanesa R Del Rey
Colours by Michael Garland
Letters by Ed Dukeshire
Published by Boom!
£2.85 or £1.99 if Supercard Go! made you do it

Something awful is moving through the US. Something that whispers to people, tells them to do awful things to themselves and others. Something that ensures their last act is giving it the credit it deserves. The Empty Man made them do it.

Jensen and Langford are two of the inter-agency task force investigating whatever the Empty Man is. Langford is older, calmer, more arrogant and quietly very ill. Jensen is worse with people, more driven and completely unwilling to put up with her partner’s crap. Bunn’s script hits the ground running for both and sets up not only their world but how they approach it with consumate ease. By the end of the first issue we know the two agents, know their job and have an idea of just how bad the world they live in is. This is America just before panic, the intake of breath before the scream. This entire book is hunched, waiting for the blow to fall and when it does, it changes everything we, and the agents know. This is serialized storytelling and the gamble, as always, is if people come back. I certainly will.
On the art side of things, Del Rey’s work is fantastic. She has a Tom Mandrake-esque eye for character, everyone somehow normal and slightly grotesque at the same time. She’s helped immensely by Garland’s colors, especially on the two big reveal pages. This is a book with dread encoded into every page and the fact it’s there shows just how talented the art team are.

Horrifying, gripping and confident, this is a book that travels the dark roads between The X Files and True Detective with ease. Hop aboard and remember, if you do, you can always blame The Empty Man.

Review: Translucid Issue 1 by Travelling Man

Written and created by Claudio Sanchez and Chondra Echert

Illustrated by Daniel Bayliss

Coloured by Adam Metcalfe

Lettered by Ed Dukeshire


The Navigator has returned to protect New York. His first task is to rescue his arch enemy The Horse from the clutches of a gang of upstarts. But in this New York, everyone is playing a game and not everyone knows the rules…

Bayliss came to the fore with this excellent, and staggering NSFW and gory, Batman fanfic, The Deal. His work is an unusual combination of frantic and measured, detail heavy but always on the balls of its feet and always fast moving. It’s extraordinarily good here, more grounded than his early work and all the better for it. The scenes of the Navigator getting ready to go to war, and the street level shots of him making his way through the city are some of the best comic art you’ll see this year. Metcalfe’s colours are equally impressive especially on the Navigator’s GUI and the later scenes. Dukeshire’s lettering is the icing on the cake, subtly placed but always leading you through the art.

The script, by Sanchez and Echert, is an unusual take on the traditional superhero story but one that based on this first issue knows just where it’s going. They throw a lot of balls in the air; the Navigator’s mysterious absence, the Horse’s true loyalties and a child who seems to be connected to both of them but each one is given time and space to breath. It’s an interesting story that’s brave enough to lay it’s stall out without rushing and based on this issue, it’s going to go some very odd places. Unusual, tense and involving, the first issue is out now.


Review: 3 Guns Issue 1 by Travelling Man

Created and Written by Steven Grant

Art by Emilio Laiso

Colours by Gabriel Cassata

Letters by Ed Dukeshire

Cover by Rafael Albuquerque

Published by Boom!


Bobby Beans used to rob banks. Bobby Beans used to be in hiding. Tracked down by a militia unit, he’s ‘contracted’ to steal their money back after they close a huge arms deal. If he does it, he gets to live. At least until the Russians he’s stealing the money back from find him and kill him.

That’s a problem. It’s not alone.

For a start, Bobby’s actually a deep cover operative for the DEA. Then there’s Marcus, his erstwhile partner (Also a deep cover operative, different bosses, loosely similar goals). Then there’s the fact Marcus appears to be trying the same thing as Bobby, just for the Russians not the militia. Then there’s Joey, the waitress and militia associate who takes a liking to Bobby, and Zhenya, the Russian gangster who feels the same way about Marcus.

Oh and the guns. And the money.

Steven Grant is one of the best writers working in comics. He has been for decades and it’s within sight of criminal that he’s not got more success than he’s had. However, this sequel to his 2 Guns  mini-series, the movie of which will shortly be released in the UK, should get him noticed by more people.

For a start, you need to know nothing about the original to get it. Bobby’s a likeable schlub with a dubious past in over his head, a story that should appeal to everyone from Guy Richie to Hawaii Five-O fans.  Secondly, Grant is a master at twist-laden but minimalist storytelling. There are a ton of beats folded into this book but each one has room to breathe and each scene pushes the overall plot along towards the next beat, the next reveal, without ever seeming hurried. The script’s laden with nice dialogue, good jokes, moments of shocking violence and breathing room for all of them. Nothing’s rushed, everything’s measured and calm and works. You could, and possibly should, teach comic scriptwriting off books like this.

Finally, there’s the art. Laiso has a fantastically burly style that suits the characters just as much as the action. His actions scenes are fluid, fast and violent, his characters are all expressive and look like actual people and he leads you around the page with ease. Grant and Laiso also have a lot of fun with some nice visual gimmicks, like panels drenched in night-vision green and forced perspective on some of the action scenes. Gabriel Cassata’s colours are also top notch, most notably during the night time sequences and, again, with the night-vision panels. Ed Dukeshire’s lettering handles dialogue and action with equal ease and Rafael Albuquerque’s cover is simple, playful and eye-grabbing.

This is a high quality book and a must-read for anyone interested in crime stories, action movies or the sort of bloody knuckled fun and games that comes with them. 3 Guns is in over its head, too clever for its own good and unmissable.

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