Reviews

BOB LANCE #1: THE ROUND TABLE


Love the cover.  Like the way the king looks as though he is looking past Lance and is thinking: "Is that man drawing us??" The printing is exquisite with sharp black on white and the art itself might be called by some trendy idiot "old school". No computers used to draw anything and you are looking at the work of a skilled artist who knows how to use negatives (b&w), cross-hatching and shading effectively -Luciano Bernasconi, of course, created the legendary character Wampus. Although Bob Lance was created in 1970 by Pier Carpi and Bernasconi none of the work has dated -the art is in fact better than in some modern US comics. And since the action is set in the past that certainly is not going to be a drawback. In fact Bob Lance became one of Hexagon's most popular series and now English readers can get in on the fun. If you've always been interested in European comics but the foreign language put you off along with ordering from overseas -no more!

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BOB LANCE #3: THE GHOST OF RASPUTIN


Roberto Castro's cover is full of action and colour  and promises treats within. There is a nice introduction by Peter B. Gillis who oldies out there might remember created Marvel Comics Strikeforce: Morituri in the 1980s.


The adventure starts with a quiet drive along a country road (no, you are thinking of architect David Vincent! No UFOs involved here) that goes a bit wrong and then our duo have towalk into town and wait while the mechanic goes out to their car and....suddenly people are seeing the "Mad Monk" Rasputin. Or are they?
Bob Lance begins investigating and that could spell his death! If you like those old B movie horror-thrillers you should enjoy this. An enjoyable adventure.


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CAPTAIN UKRAINE


Nice cover homage to Captain America #1 (1940) there. Not engaging in the politics or anything going on but this is a well written comic with good art and bringing another old character into the modern Hexagon age. Guardian of the Republic IS the French version of Captain America and I am getting to like the character more knowing his  past, present and future.

Hexagon Comics are a good read and remind me of the very creative bronze age Marvel. As for the subject matter of this comic and what it is all about...well, if you don't know where have you been.


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DICK DEMON: VANISHING POINT


There are some nice character twists here and it's good to see the world Demon will be inhabiting built up and it will be interesting to see how the character evolves.

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DRAGUT / SCARLET LIPS


Shape-changing beastmen, pirates, vampire and magic. Come on that has to have raised your interest somewhat...if not...are you dead??
Lofficier seems to the the traditional comics writer -able to turn scripts out for any period or scenario and make them interesting and fun.  Macall must be enjoying himself as an artist;he has taken us to the past, present and future and possibly all three in one story! It does give me hope for at least good comics coming from Independents when I see things like this.  
If you do not get in on Hexagon Comics now you will be sorry when they take off and you'll be paying flippers 2-3 times the cover price for a "key" issue. Considering the absolute mess Marvel Comics made of the recent Avengers "Enter the Phoenix" storyline it is a breath of fresh air to read things that make sense and are not just wasting paper. Recommended.

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THE ENCHANTERS


When Jean-Marc Lofficier asked whether I'd like to see some of the new English language editions from his Hexagon comics I hesitated (about 1.3 seconds in fact). You may well think that if these characters have a fifty year old history it will be a nightmare to know who is who or does what. I know something about the characters but even I was wondering whether I might have to start looking things up. No worries. The character are introduced and even origins given and it was all done so smoothly that it was enjoyable and never distracted from the story itself. What did it remind me of? The great type of stories that Marvel Comics produced in the Silver and Bronze ages.  Gabriel Mayorga's cover has that kind of vibe to it and his work inside on chapter 1 cannot be faulted. Unlike a lot of current Marvel books I did not have to look at pages or panels twice to see what the hell was going on. The pages are clean and uncluttered. Easy on the eyes and help the story flow.


Roberto Castro's art for chapter 2 is a style change but it works and I love it. If I could afford to pay artists then this is one of the styles I would go for. Lovely.
The one thing with black and white artwork is that you get to see the details that color tends to swamp out -DC Showcase The All Star Squadron is an example: I knew the art was good (I have a complete run) but when I saw it in b&w it looked far better. Mayorga and Castro are both wonderful artists.
The story by Lofficier is what you might expect: a great yarn with good characterization and steadily paced action. I read this book at 01:00 hrs and all morning I was going back over the story in my mind and looking at the art again....seriously, if you want a good read and good art as well as something that seems fresh I recommend this book highly (I don't tend to do this very often).


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THE FRONTIERSMEN / CODENAME: GLORY

Manuel Martin Peniche's work kept reminding me of something then it struck me: the old black and white Marvel comic magazines of the 1970s/1980s. Look at that cover image of the Frontiersmen -last time I got this excited about a group of hombres slapping leather (oh, behave!) was when Carlos Pacheco drew Two-Gun Kid and others in Avengers Forever.  Why is it that Marvel cannot produce these types of comics today because this was fun...and that final panel!


Of course, Mayorga on Code Name: Glory works his wonderful style and I have a feeling that Soeurette is going to find her wish of "just being a singer" thwarted in future. These books have been like a breath of fresh air and though they may not be in comic stores (for various reasons) you can buy them straight from Amazon where ever you are and that's a good way to buy (unless you miss the smell of sweat and musty books in comic stores).


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GALAOR


The Isle of Doom uses some very vibrant colours at just the right points to great effect and, of course, it co-stars Futura who I first came across in the Strangers... Seeing Futura in this was a bonus and, again, the book has more mature scenes. Galaor's origin is fast paced enough but I think, for me, the all out winner in this book has to be Lagrid Princess of Mu. The art is great and the colour work cannot be faulted and is on a par with the quality you expect from Cinebook.  There is no question of the packaging and printing being anything but top quality and each story begins to fill in gaps and help build a universe that I hope is going to be around for a very long time to come. Recommended.

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GUARDIAN OF THE REPUBLIC / BARBARELLA


To be blunt this book was like the good old Marvel comics of the 1970s when things happened that you never expected. Did I expect that the Guardian of the Republic was going to find a home in the future? HOW does he find a home in the future? Its a greal twist...but it does involve Barbarella.  Yes, the Barbarella!  It is a fun adventure and José Luis Ruiz Pérez's artwork fits the bill here. I mean, great art combined with a murder mystery a "resurrected" hero and the sexiest adventurer of the sci fi world ("You are very handsome, Maxine. I'm sure we'll ghet along famously") how could you go wrong? This is what comics should be and offer more than reboots or dark misery. Byan Wetstein's colour work is incredible in this.


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4 Stars - Comixology/Amazon


This is a fun read, but when compared to Dynamites very first issue of Barbarella, which I covered months ago. This is a much cleaner story in that it has been toned down, which is not a bad thing given that its a holiday special, which means it needs to be a bit more inclusive. That said. It doesn’t stop Barbarella from being true to the character that she is and although I’d figured out who the murderer was well before the issue concluded. I still enjoyed the story and the various character interactions.

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GUARDIAN OF THE REPUBLIC / COUNT ST GERMAIN / SCARLET LIPS


How can you go wrong with super heroics and...the undead? Plus sneaky and evil baddies and a cracking story to go with the Peniche black and white artwork -because any horror story should be in black and white!- and you have a fun read.


the characters become more familiar after reading their other stories and the universe created for them seems likely to turn up a time travel, space or horror tale.  The cover looks very nice and was the first thing I spotted out of the postal carton.  The number of characters available are many and they all seem o work well under the unified history they now share -Lofficier's overseeing all the books it keeps the continuity going.

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 GUARDIAN OF THE REPUBLIC & DOCTOR OMEGA


The Guardian is, if you have not gathered so yet, Hexagon's Captain America counter-part. To date we've seen him in all types of adventures including one based in the future -if you are wondering about that one then you have not been rreading the reviews, have you? Also no good looking up Doctor Omega in the Hexagon Comics Top 100 Characters book -he ain't in it! Fritz Lang really started something with that movie! (Metropolis 1927...you have seen it?) Nice little twist at the end and one more piece of Guardian history which seems to get quite complicated at times.


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GUARDIAN OF THE REPUBLIC & DRAGUT & SCARLET LIPS & TIME BRIGADE


The Necromancer has launched a campaign to kick Europeans out of America -imagine the way that might alter everything today. Conquistadores, giant robots and some epic battles with three heroes thrown into the mix and Macall draws it -that is bound to be a winner! Imagine you lived through three years of that,  What a sory to share with friends.  Except a certain Time Brigade erases your memory of the events.  Some of my fondest Avengers comic memories are when some of the team journeyed back to the Wild West -it was fun to read. This story may not contain Marvel's Avengers but it is just as much fun. In all honesty, if you do not buy these books now it is no good in a few years time finding out how good they are and then pay the extortionate Ebay or Amazon prices to buy copies! If you want fun and action buy today!

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GUARDIAN OF THE REPUBLIC & KIT KAPPA & NIGHT PRINCE

You could describe this as a sort of Captain America-Master of Kung Fu team up.  The Guardian of the Republic pops up all over the Hexagon line and there is no reason why he shouldn't really and it would be nice to see him mentioned more in comic forums where, unless it is an American created DC or Marvel character, "foreign created" characters never get a look in. The art is crisp and clean black and white with some grey tone and to be honest I think any regular reader of CBO knows that I am going to say that this was a great fun read. You will not be disappointed. Just look at this artwork.


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GUARDIAN OF THE REPUBLIC & PHENIX & SUPER-PATRIOTS


No kidding. Kudley Koala. He's there on the cover -look!  Liked Macall's work from when I saw it a few years back now on Strangers amongst other titles.  "Super hero slug-fest" might about cover this one and, yes, I am still someone who appreciates Macall art. "Big Bad Ben" from London? It could have been worse! But it is all fun and I think that most of us need spome fun and escapism these days. You want some super hero action then buy this book.

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GUARDIAN OF THE REPUBLIC & ZEMBLA


How to compare the cover to something that used to excite us when comics were hand drawn and a good cover illo got us spending our pocket money.  Captain America versus Ka-Zar would cover it.  Super hero versus a jungle lord which would have had us parting with those pennies at warp 6. And the guest stars -well the Hexagon Top 100 characters book certainly comes in handy! The story is good old heroic action and a good read with each of the artists producing the good art I've learnt to expect from Hexagon Comics. It's difficult to review a book like this without giving too much away and spoiling it for a reader -the blurb above says it all really and I cannot find any negatives here at all. Looking at this and the other Hexagon Comics it reminds me of the great promise that Martin Lock's  Harrier Comics showed in the 1980s.  These comics never talk down to readers or pretend to be something  they aren't. They are good comic fun from cover to cover with the promise of "just one more adventure" at the final page.


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GUN GALLON


It suddenly struck me while reading this that Macall's work looked similar to a UK artist of the 1980s -John P. Welding. This is interesting book and has a definite "old feel" to it which works considering its subject matter. More Sword and Sorcery meets Flash Gordon it is enjoyable and has a lot of nice detailed artwork to carry along Lofficier's story smoothly. If you want to have a change from Marvel, DC or Image then give this book a go -in fact you would be treating yourself in buying some of the other titles already detailed on CBO.

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HEXAGON COMICS: THE FIRST 70 YEARS!

This book was certain;ly an eye-opener for me and the contents had me flipping back and forth through the pages.  The creator biographies are always welcome if you have a genuine interest in comic book history -photographs of the creators are very welcome because you may see the name and the art style that goes with a name but there is nothing like the words "Oh. So that is what he looks like!" Nice especially since a good number of these creators are no longer with us. There is plenty -plenty- of artwork as well as stripwork. You get to see the "generation 1" creators -the originators- and "generation 2" the new blood that are taking Hexagon into the 2020s!

It is always a very nice surprise when you have been reading and collecting comics as long as I have to find new characters, creators and comics. I know that there are other old companies around the world but how many ever feature in books or even online? Timely became Atlas and Atlas became Marvel Comics and National Periodical Publishing became DC Comics but Hexagon was and is Hexagon!

Even if you are not interested in the history then the characters are some of thwe most unique -such as Wampus. But if you just love looking at different art styles and page layouts this book has that. I just cannot recommend this book enough-it is pure comics joy and I am still browsing through it and how can you ignore that cover?!

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HEXAGON GROUP #1: THE DARK HIVE

There is some character information so you don't sit there thinking "Who's this?" -in fact, you could just take these as new characters. The artwork within compliments the stories superbly. Honestly, I never read the story until my third pick-up of the book. I was dealing with another computer breakdown and glanced at the cover of this book and next thing I knew I had forgotten the PC! The art, especially by Berger, is superb. This is what Harrier Comics could have been. The art is so smooth and detailed and the printing quality is so good that panels pop out at you.

I will be honest with you: I have only been really excited  three in the last few decades when it came to new comics. Once was in the 1970s with Seaboard's Atlas Comics and the other time was in the 1980s when Archie brought out its Red Circle Comics and the 1980s Hong Kong Jademan Comics. Since then things have just plodded along. Is it weird that at my age I am now getting so excited by a new (rejuvenated) line of comics?  Please do yourself a favor and try a copy of this book. I hope it might spark fresh enthusiasm in others.

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HEXAGON GROUP #2: HEXAGON VS HEPTAGON


Actually, five pages in I was feeling happier -I have no idea I am soooo old! Now the stories are good and they maintain a good continuity, pace and use action where it should be used which may sound odd but writers who are not that good often use the "I'll throw a fight in here!" trick. Now I have been reading comics a very long time and to me the stories here reminded me of Marvel at its Silver-Bronze ages best but also when Archie Comics brought back its Red Circle line in the 1980s. In other words fun and enjoyable.


The art. Well, not a single complaint there. Firstly, the use of negatives (black and white) by the artists is spot on. It's all well balanced and there are a few examples of how artists misuse b&w and get the balance very wrong. The figures are well drawn and the scenes set and drawn well. There are times that you read a comic or book for review and you stop and ask yourself "Should I be enjoying this? Why aren't I finding anything bad here?"  Rather like Cinebook, Hexagon Comics maintains a standard where, on reviewing books you cannot find anything wrong with them. These are enjoyable and considering some of the "art" going into the big two tiltes these days these books are a treat for the eyes.

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HOMICRON #1

Strangers had an English language six issue run through Image Comics a few years back. The stories are good, there is almost a Captain Mar-Vell (original)/Green Lantern thing going on here but with European style and flair.  Now this one ought to appeal to comic fans who are into super heroes but have not tried a Euro comic. A cosmic super hero, evil aliens –it’s got the lot. The art on the original strip I liked so I was dreading getting to the up-dated stuff –some times there’s a bit of visual jarring when you get used to the original art and suddenly there is a new artist with a new style.  In fact, the new style works and there was no visual jarring to confuse my old mind.  Italian artist Lina Buffolente created Homicron in 1972 and is one of those Italians working in comics that we in the UK never hear of (there were Italian artists working in UK comics). Lofficier and Dzialowski revamping the character works well and explains why I’ve seen images of a male Homicron and a female Homicron!  We also see Homicron as she/it becomes more integrated in the Strangers universe of C.L.A.S.H., etc. Well worth getting hold of.

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JALEB #1


I used to love staring at the pulp covers. As soon as I saw this cover it took me back.
The story was almost like a pulp novel -across between pulps and B movie sci fi/horror. You can see how Legrand's influences show through.  The three stories feature action, mystery and glowing eyes! But after all this time do the stories hold up to time? Yes, no mobile phones or computers and those are elements you could take out of any modern story as convenient plot short cuts. Besides which, if you have Jaleb's abilities you really do not need a computer or phone...after all look at the 1960s TV series The Champions  -here you hide the secret city in the Himalayas is replaced by Jaleb's home world.
This was a fun read and it's a pity more people are not discovering these gems...


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JAYDEE

Yes, folks –three classics from the legendary Italian artist Danilo Grossi.  There is a nice piece that connects the old series of Jaydee to the Strangers Universe. The art is pure 1970s classic and has a great feel to it. And Star Knight is a series I’ve heard of but never seen –very funky!  Dick Spade? Well, could you be more inclined to investigate – Dick Spade screams out private detective but I guess it’ll work for an investigative journalist! So how does all of this fit into the Strangers Universe?  If you can wait a few days, no seriously, you DO have to wait, I’ll tell you.  I really do despair that these books are not in UK shops –are they in US comic shops?  They really should be. Perhaps Hexagon Comics need a bigger presence at UK or US comic conventions because then comic buyers can see what they are missing and with the UK really embracing European comics now maybe a liuttle nudging won’t hurt!

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KABUR #1

“Long before the destruction of fabled Mu…Eons ago, in an age of swords and sorcery, there arose a great champion…whose legend became…The Saga Of Kabur!” With a hook like that can you go wrong?  No. I loved the John Buscema Conan’s and, as I wrote, got the first Kull comic but I’m not a major barbarian comics fan.  But this is far more.  The stories are full of good characterization, plot twists as well as some great action involving swords, bows, fists and, oh yeah, monsters and dastardly villains inter-mixed with sorcery. Young Kabur was fun and the art style worked well. In fact, the whole comic is full of lush black and white work -I think that many young artists could learn a lot from this if they intend to draw comics. I’m not sure whether I’ve written it before (I may have knowing me!) but Jean-Marc Lofficier deserves a great deal of praise for bringing these French classics to an English language readership.  I sometimes feel I’m quite spoiled with the type of books I get –and not a DC or Marvel in sight!

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KABUR #2 / ZEMBLA


Firstly, I liked the story and how it ran so I have no problem there. It is setting up and establishing a world for this and future stories. The problem is that I am not fond of the "super steroid muscles" as in evidence in the cover illo. Now I have written this in the past and people have told me how they like it but in certain books. Those books were the sword and sorcery genre. Now I am a John Buscema Conan/Tarzan art fan. I will even go for Barry Windsor-Smith Conan art and, as we ought to know by now, in comics it is certainly a case of "different strokes for different folks"! Bearing that in mind, I sat down to read this. You'll be happy to know I never gouged my eyes out in disgust! In fact, and I cannot understand why, the super muscles never  put me off and those seemed confined to Zembla and Kabur and at one point I wondered how Ben Dilworth would draw this.  There is, with the female characters, a certain Lady Death vibe going. The colour work is really very nice and looking at the book as a whole I realised the art and colour reminded me somewhat of the 1980s Rock N Roll Comix. By the time I reached the end of the story I found the maps and background info on the world involved in this story. I long ago gave up trying to work out why I -or anyone else- likes something but I liked this so I'm not going to think any deeper on this!


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KABUR #3: ZOTHAQA 


Kabur I like for its rough and ready look and dynamism. Is it Dave Stevens or Alex Ross style art? No. But who wants that type of art in every comic?  Mike Ratera starts the book off with a lovely black and white style I'd like to see more of. Willy Hudic then takes over the rest of the art chorse in a rough and edgy style that has a Windsor-Smith and Kirby look at times and along with the stories it is a fun read.


And THAT is what comics are about -fun. Escapism and I get to see a lot of comics that fail at this. It is odd that the looked down on publishers such as Kult and Hexagon produce the most entertaining books. Perhaps that is because they understand what comics are and have not lost sight of the fun in amongst 12 cover variants or the regular 6 monthly reboot. I recommend Hexagon highly.


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KIDZ


I looked at the cover and thought "Kidz" well this is going to be a let down" and I have no idea why. The UK had plenty of child heroes in its weekly comics so why I was so negative I have no idea. We live in strange times, folks and nothing is stranger than my mind (which is quite normal). The story and concept works really well and I would like to think that a company like Thomson or Rebellion could do this type of thing but so far old characters used by Rebellion have been rebooted and Americanized. What Hexagon have done here is to prove that with a good writer who knows all of the characters and a good artist you can make an interesting comic featuring kid heroes. Of course, you have to have the best dastardly villains, too! A lot of people are checking these Hexagon reviews out and I do hope some are going to buy because otherwise people are really missing out. 

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THE LUNATIC LEGION


Okay, everyone should know by now that I have a problem with humorous comics. Having had to write a few for other publishers as well as newspaper/magazine one panel gags I had my funny bone removed. I have a collection of Howard The Duck as well as Captain Carrot and his Amazing Zoo Crew and I like the art but do I laugh? No. I appreciate that this is Hexagon Comics and I showed a couple people scans of one of the strips and they loved it. So it's just me! I know there are people out there who only collect humor comics and if you are one of those who do then give this a try.  Quality etc is there and in these bloody awful times we could all do with a good laugh.

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MORGANE


This was a nice and enjoyable romp into the world of Arthurian legend and modern day sorcery... and action.  The story and dialogue are well written but no surprises there. The artwork by Lirussi I loved. I've seen a similar style used in one of the Graphic Classics series a few years back. In black and white it looks incredible and far better than the reproduced image above. I was expecting artwork similar to that on the cover so what I discovered inside was a treat.
Lots of betrayal and skullduggery as you might expect when it comes to demonic pacts and sorcery!

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THE PARTISANS #1


That got me interested but then I saw the credit Roy Thomas. If there is one comic book writer that knows about the Second World War period and super heroes it is Thomas. Usually American super heroes through the aforementioned All Star Squadron and for Marvel The Invaders. But now new scope for his creative mind with Jean-Marc & Randy Lofficier scripting so what did I think (and to be honest here I was excited about Thomas but the story concept...?)


As it turned out this was a fun read and Guevara's art style is used to great effect to distinguish itself from American comics books (I feel) but still in a style that would be accepted and read by American comic fans. The problem is that you get a few American comic fans who have never read a European comic or anything other than U.S. comics and they will cite Tin Tin or Asterix as "standard" for "foreign comics" whereas Hexagon U.S. is catering for American readers and its comics should slip in amongst the Independents quite easily. Being long winded in the typing finger what I am trying to say is that this is good comic book art and deserves a lot more attention.


Some times I just can't shut up my typing! But I get enthusiastic and Guevara brings some nice characterisation to the players in this book.  How many untold stories of The Partisans are there? No idea but I hope there are more.

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THE PARTISANS #2


Good story. Good characterization. The art looks nice and for "North Africa"  Guevara uses a grey tone style which contrasts with "Pacific Theater"  and its black and white style. A mixture of characters from various nationalities in exotic settings -I can't complain because Black tower has been doing that since the 1980s. I think that these Hexagon books deserve a wider readership.

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PHENIX #1


I originally reviewed this when it came out as a paperback edition and I thought a lot was lost in the compact edition. Looking through it again today I have no idea what I was talking about! Yes, it was in paperback format (20 x 12 cms) but the art and text was clear and I started reading it before realising I had just received the new edition in larger format! I think it shows how an opinion can change!


The paperback had a bonus back up -of a previous Phenix in Paris story but the new edition has a Preview of Phenix in Strangers 2.1 by Alfredo Macall. The larger format does look better because -obviously- it's easier for an old fart like me to take in and look at each page anew and I am presuming in the format it was originally published in. From Bernasconi, Louis and Berger the art is good -lovely black and white work that is a treat. The stories keep you reading and as evidenced by the fact that I was comparing both formats and totally forgot and was hooked into a story (in the smaller format!). Aged comic reviewers are human, too!


I like the production and contents. Do I prefer the paperback or new format cover? Both are great but I think the new version fits the book. Overall a good read and recommended.


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PHENIX / SIBILLA


A full colour Hexagon book and the colour is amazing. As always the story and characterisation are good (probably why Lofficier is not working for Marvel or DC!). There are a few "rough edges" to the art in the Phenix stories but they are nothing horrific and do not deter from the overall look and feel of the strip -sort of Modesty Blaise + and I am a big MB fan. But the stand out strip in this book is Stephane Roux's Sibilla and with  the colour work of  Karine Boccanfuso it is a treat for the eyes. Very slick and the type of art you might expect in a French comic album. I've actually read and then re-read the strip just to take in the art which after all is what comics are about. And that cover made me think "Wow" when I saw it. It shows that comics can still wake up these tired old eyes!

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STARLOCK / HOMICRON


I don't need to tell you that the story is great fun and action because it seems to be a given and that may well be down to Lofficier controlling all of this so that the Hexagon universe is consistent and there are no continuity flaws. Reading this one I suddenly realised that it was like reading the American comics as a kid. A character is set on a path and then without warning ..another pops up and the story continues but there is an introduction of some kind so that you know who the newcomer is. A good example of this was DCs All Star Squadron in the 1980s written by Roy Thomas and thses Golden Age characters would pop up and someone would say "I've heard of you" followed by their story if not origin being revealed. It's that kind of fun read. Anthony Dugenest, a creator in his own right (Le Patrouilleur) works on the colours in this book and his colour style is recognisable.  The colour adds more atmosphere and sets the scenes drawn by De La Torre which takes us through this veritable saga. Fun and action from cover to cover.


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STARPUCK


It's got a Stan Sakai cover and it is a beauty to look at. Now I am not into "Funny animals" and I used to be but the first story was okay and I read through it even the anthropomorphism didn't put me off! But to me the best strip was Jaleb's Quest -- a continuation of Strangers #6 which I reviewed the other day -Against The Overbrain- which takes up a hefty chunk of the book and I loved it.  There were elements that would not have been out of place in an old episode of Star Trek (the original of course) and I am surethat Jaleb's... uh, "dalliance" with the twins would have been something Captain Kirk would be interested in!
Starpuck does arrive to save the day but Mayorga's artwork is nice and clean and was good to look out though I would say "more solid black areas" because that's what I am like. Mayorga continues his neat style in The Dastardly Menace od Doctor Morbyde and this is the quality of artist whom, years back when it was a decent industry, would have been snapped up by Marvel or DC. My negative attitude at having to read a "funny animals" book was crushed and Jaleb won me over. Good story and good art.


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STRANGERS #2: OF BLOOD AND FIRE


So what about a whole catalogue of characters from time and space and Earth who had no connection and had never met before?   What Lofficier has done is build a Hexagon Universe and create links  and storylines that bring heroes -Strangers- together and keeps the pace and characterisation flowing. If you have one person doing the writing and who knows the characters and the directions he wants yto take them in then it can be fun (look at Roy Thomas's All Star Squadron and The Invaders).


This book starts pulling the threads together and there is some gorgeous colour work to enhance the artwork which all took me back to finding those Marvel team books when I was an unbearded youngster (beard only grew when I got to 10). If you like team book, action and good art then why are you not buying Strangers yet? This cheered me up on a dull Saturday morning.

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STRANGERS 3: OF GODS AND MEN


Three quarters of this book is in full colour and the last quarter is black and white. The colour  artwork is great but the b&w work stands out to me -which may be down to my mainly working in that medium. As a whole though the mix works and if Tanka is who keeps the characters united then Lofficier is the writer who makes it all gell because he knows and has developed the characters over the years -just as Roy tTomas knew the DC and Marvel Golden Age characters and how to use them.


I did write before that the Strangers series was like The Avengers comic but I realised my mistake. Reading through them again it is like a mix of The Avengers and The Defenders of the Bronze age and that, as many old time comic fans will know was THE creative and most loved era in Marvel Comics.  I hope more people get into Hexagon as the amount of work put in by Lofficier and the creators deserves more recognition.


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STRANGERS #5: THE KINGDOM OF SHIVAR


Again -story and script very acceptable, and taking in a lot of locations and scenes. Martin Peniche really goes all out on this one. The story outline tells you all you need to know and, I've written it before but this is like a good old Marvel Bronze age comic full of characters and action and it's enough to keep any comic fan happy.  Hexagon has shown that someone can publish high quality comics/comic albums and graphic novels in b&w...as I have been saying, writing and doing since the 1980s. The books and characters are like a breath of fresh air.


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STRANGERS #6: AGAINST THE OVERBRAIN



The art is clean and there is some good use of grey toning (no idea what they use now but it used to be Letratone or Ziptone) to fill in negative (white) spaces effectively. At one point I realised that the style was similar to UK artist Dave Harwood who did a lot of work for Harrier Comics in the 1980s (HMS Conqueror etc). But only similar in places of course. Overall it's a very enjoyable read and do not get put off by black and white art -it has a whole skill set that -hand drawn- computer artists cannot manage to master.

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STRANGERS 7: THE RETURN OF HOMICRON


The first thing I noticed was the cover art which as a very Manhua look to it so that got me intrigued from the get-go. Of course the stories are well written and fun to read and as I have written before if you have one person keeping it all together then continuity does not suffer and Lofficier does this well.


Alfredo Macall's splash page hooked me and from there on in it was pure fun. Action scenes and so much more are rendered wonderfully and I wonder how the pencil-like shading is achieved -my guess is that its a digital. I do not use digital artwork and so I have no idea what is available to the comic artist. The underwater scenes are very well done and I never expected to become a fan of Macall's work.


Cover artist Vargas returns for the two part The Coming of Miss Meteor and The Return of Homicron. That sub-Manhua style is still evident and the details and lovely black and white art style works. In fact, I just realised that some of the art reminds me of certain strips in the old Bastei Verlag comics Spuk Geschichten and Gespenster Geschichten and that gave me a sudden nostalgia rush...which I was not expecting.


In all seriousness I hope some of those who check these reviews are at least trying Hexagon Comics because if you are not then you are missing out. Macall and Vargas are two very good artists who deliver the goods and combined with the Lofficier stories -you cannot do better!

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TALES OF THE HEXAGONVERSE


If you like science fiction then you ought to really enjoy this.  Timothy J. Green II's work is obviously heavily influenced by the great Moebius. Finely detailed and crisp art.  Gerald Forton on Cassandra has a slick b&w style that works really nicely but as I read this I suddenly  realised that Cassandra being "remolded" was the same thing that happened to the legendary British newspaper strip heroine Scarth in the early 1970s...bit obscure rference there! 


Philippe Xavier has an equally nice art style and some of the pages are taken over by certain panels that you feel obliged to look at in detail! Very enjoyable.  O'Neill on Nightspeeder shows why he was popular with 2000 AD readers back in the day (the "day" being the 1980s). I think some of the work looks better than his later Moore collaborations.


Over-all this is a real treat ... and I was surprised by the contents as I get bored very quickly by sci fi -but if you are a fan then this is going to tickle yourfancy!


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TALES OF THE TWILIGHT PEOPLE: DOCTOR DESPAIR


The characters -main and side ones- all work well and those additional "side characters" drew my eye to them because, if this were a film instead of a comic, those are the ones people would be talking about.  How do you tell people what goes on without ruining the story for them? In the case of this book you really cannot as it all fits in so well and leads to the climatic final page. £6.00 for a 148 page book is excellent and if you like your horror then you will enjoy this and for all of the horror comic fans out there who insist on trying to buy any horror related comic they can -guess what? I'd say this one was for you.

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TIGER AND THE EYE

We've had alternate Earths where the Germans won World War 2 or the Russians won World War 3 but I can't think of anyone having set a story in an alternate meso-american parallel. I like the art style and clean lines with occasional solid blacks and it seems to work well with the story. Reading comics for so long you get that "Oh, that looks like so-and-so's art" pop into your head and that happened a couple times here but it did not affect the story. The story had a few twists and filled in a lot about this meso-American parallel and how things work there -don't worry there is still blood and heart removal -plus flesh eating savages. I think if the regular hexagon heroes cross over into this one there could be a few problems! As a one-off this was a bit of a surprise as I had no idea what to expect after all this is not a super hero book. It shows that Hexagon Comics can be novel and inventive.  Well worth reading.

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THE TIME BRIGADE: THE GRAIL WARS



The story is well paced and very enjoyable and the characters play through this well. What I loved was the European feel of Green's art which Mason's colours worked beautifully on. I'm sorry but my scans are not even showing how good the actual pages look (hey, I make do with my rapidly dying PC!) and what surprised me was the art style when it came to the characters is not one I would normally go for but it worked.  No idea why and these days I try not to overdo the  deep thinking on why I like something. Would I recommend The Time Brigade? Bloody right I would. Good read. Good art and that is what counts.


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THE TOP 100 HEROES OF THE HEXAGON UNIVERSE


This is a nice thick book and when I picked it up I wondered just what the point was? Don't you have to be a Hexagon Comics reader to be interested in this? Well, yes and no. Yes you do get info on a lot of the Hexagon characters but there is a lot more that you get. This is also an art book. Full splash page art pieces fully drawn or sketched and that is something a lot of people interested in comics like to see -how an artist pencils.  There are also a few full page comic strips (not full just sample pages). Whether the old characters Hexagon are revitalising or its more modern era characters this book gives you a pretty comprehensive guide to who is who and my guess is that one day this book is going to see its price increase. Science fiction, fantasy, wild west, super heroes, action characters -they are all here.  This is a nice book to look through and you may get inspired to try the odd Hexagon Comic.


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WAMPUS #1


Paris, Berlin, New York and Tokyo all suffer at the hands of Wampus and there can be very little doubt that not only is it one of the great comic book aliens but he is also one of comics greatest villains. I can’t recommend this book enough.  We see the classic Franco-Belgian characters such as Tintin and Blake and Mortimer but Hexagon comics have made the wonderful decision to bring us the –wanting for a better word- the French ‘Marvel-type’ characters. Even while writing this review, I have stopped to read through the book again.  Volume 2…oh, how long do we have to wait for that?! This is a nice chunky book and a great read.

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Wampus is one of the great alien monsters of comics, a creator of chaos on a global scale, his exposed skin stretched over his skeleton, his evil eyes able to possess any human or animal. Using local “print on demand” avoids the need for big print runs and transatlantic shipping, though the package is pricier and its set format cramps the art. Minor quibbles, if it brings us this obscure gem of bande dessinée pulp paranoia. 

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WAMPUS #2: DOOMSDAY MARCH


If this were a TV series I'd watch it (and I don't have a TV!). This book shows why Wampus has achieved an almost cult status amongst those "in the know" not just in Europe but also other parts of the world -including the United States.


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ZEMBLA #1

Read that and you might think “another Tarzan rip-off” but you would be wrong. Italian artist Franco Oneta drew the adventures of Zembla starting in 1963 and only stopping after 30 years!!  Zembla is one of the best loved characters in French comics. And what a character. I did get confused after the origin story because suddenly a host of secondary cast members had appeared such as Ye Ye (Zembla’s love interest though she feels ignored); Rasmus who is just so insanely out of place in the jungle!!  That said there is lynx cat (?) called Satanus and Hara of whom I can only say “what a guy!”.  Of course, there is the kangaroo (Petoulet) so there’s a lot of cartoony capers with it and Satanus. Yes, I did write kangaroo…there’s also a bear pops up in a story.  By Rasmus’ appearance I’m guessing they were all part of a circus.

“The Wrath of Boor” sees some great gorilla art.  The battle between Zembla and his crew and the gorillas looks great!.  More apes, evolved this time, in “The Super Apes Of Anthar”.  There is some bonus art at the back of the book including character sheets by Oneta in a cartoony style for a Zembla animated series.  Completely different to his serious work. But this is a treat and, yes, I’m feeling spoilt again!

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