Book review-Before The Batman

Synopsis:

We all know that billionaire Bruce Wayne is secretly Gotham City’s vigilante detective and protector, The Batman—but what road led him there? Find out in Before The Batman: An Original Movie Novel, which includes an exciting original story of Bruce Wayne’s early adventures on his way to becoming The Batman!

Written by David Lewman, Before The Batman, is a young adult novel, which essentially acts as a prequel to The Batman. It follows a 17-year-old Bruce Wayne, about a decade and a half before he dons the cape and cowl.

Given the target audience, this isn’t a complex read. I blitzed through it in about 90 minutes. However, I had a lot more fun with this than I anticipated. It’s an intriguing look at Batman’s early years, laying the groundwork for the universe of the film, without rehashing what we’ve previously seen. We learn a bit more about Alfred and his military days, as well as The Riddler and the parallels between him and Bruce Wayne.

The book isn’t a required read before seeing the film, but it does a great job of expanding the mythology that’s established in the film.

The book includes a few behind-the-scenes images from the film, as well as a small poster.

New target books on the way

BBC Books has announced that it will be expanding the Doctor Who Target range with five new titles in Summer 2022, all published on 14th July 2021, each with newly commissioned cover artwork by Anthony Dry.

Penned by the original scriptwriter the late David Fisher and adapted from his 2011 and 2014 audio novelisations, The Stones of Blood, and The Androids of Tara are now being released as two glorious Target books for fans to add to their collections.

These will be accompanied by a Target edition of The Fires of Pompeii by James Moran, as well as The Eaters of Light by Rona Munro and The Zygon Invasion by Peter Harness.

For Doctor Who fans, the range of novelisations published by Target Books in the 1970s and 1980s holds a special place. There was a novel published for almost every Doctor Who serial between 1963 and 1989, with very few (five, actually) notable exceptions.

Since 2012, BBC Books has been successfully reissuing these classic paperbacks and expanding the Target range to include all-new novelisations of modern-era Doctor Who episodes. The Stones of Blood by David Fisher – An ancient stone circle becomes a battleground as the Fourth Doctor must outwit the deadliest alien criminal this side of hyperspace.

The Androids of Tara by David Fisher – The Fourth Doctor and Romana’s search for the fourth segment of the all-powerful Key to Time leads them to the planet Tara.

The Fires of Pompeii by James Moran – It is AD 79, and the Tenth Doctor and Donna arrive in Pompeii on the eve of the town’s destruction. Mount Vesuvius is ready to erupt and bury its surroundings in molten lava, just as history dictates. Or is it?

The Eaters of Light by Rona Munro – The Twelfth Doctor takes Bill and Nardole back to 2nd century Scotland to learn the fate of the ‘lost’ Ninth Legion of the Imperial Roman Army. 5,000 soldiers vanished without explanation – how?

The Zygon Invasion by Peter Harness – It took three Doctors to broker a fragile peace between Zygons and Humans. Now the Twelfth Doctor must face the fallout alone. With his allies compromised and his companion believed dead, can he stop the world from plunging into war?

These latest additions to the collection, all by the original writers of the TV episodes, will help Target fans complete their classic and modern-era collections.

James Moran said:

“I’ve been watching Doctor Who and reading the Target books for as long as I can remember. The books were an essential part of my childhood, examining the amazing cover art, and “seeing” stories that aired before I was born. I loved learning new words from them, like “capacious”, and am beyond thrilled to become part of this publishing legend!”

Rona Munro said:

“It’s wonderful to have another chance to revisit the ideas of my last Doctor Who story, Eaters of Light, they are ideas that have been with me for a very long time and Doctor Who, as always, proved to be the largest and most exciting world in which to realise them.”

Peter Harness added:

“Like many, many others, I learnt to read and to love books by reading Target novelisations. The Saturday afternoon journey to Garland’s bookshop in Bridlington to see if any new Doctor Who stories had materialised on their shelves. Scouring markets and second-hand shops in hope of finding an old copy of Doctor Who and the Sea Devils. Desperately pester my poor cousin until he finally lent me his copy of Doctor Who and The Doomsday Weapon. Making my Grandad read me The Enemy of the World when he would’ve much preferred to fall asleep with the newspaper. There is a sense of magic and excitement about Target books which has stayed with me my whole life. And I can’t begin to tell you how wonderful it feels to be writing my own Target book of one of my own Doctor Who stories.”

The books are due for release during the summer of 2022.

Review-Ben Reilly issue 1

It’s weird being a Spider-Man fan, I’m old enough to remember the original reaction to ‘The clone saga’. People hated it, they hated there was a Spider-Man that wasn’t Peter Parker. Nowdays, the appeal of the character seems to be that there are thousands of variations.

Written by J.M. DeMatteis, Ben Reilly: Spider-Man #1, picks up shortly after Ben Reilly took over the mantle of Spider-Man from Peter Parker (before to the Beyond Saga), and he’s having identity issues.
The resurrection of Carrion, a living virus, as well as other villains from Peter’s past, doesn’t help matters.

DeMatteis transports the reader to the aftermath of the clone saga and tells a compelling story about a conflicted hero attempting to figure out who and what he truly is.

I adored the story’s complexities and Ben’s internal battle. His personality is intriguing, and the darkness within him makes the reader interested in his decisions. I’m really looking forward to seeing where this tale leads, and the conclusion of this issue has piqued my interest even more.

With its amazing attention to detail and unique, engaging style, David Baldeon’s art continues to excite and impress. His work manages to convey character feelings, as well as fantastic action and catches the 90s vibe.

Ben Reilly: Spider-Man #1 is a solid issue. It’s almost as if Ben Reilly has come full circle, since his first appearance so many decades ago, and this is a great example of how successfully the character can be handled.

There’s a lot to be explored, and this series feels like it might be the ultimate piece of proof that his long-ago creation was, in fact, a great idea.

Listen to our review of Spider-Man: No way home here.

Review-Future State: Superman of Metropolis #1

The DC multiverse has been blown wide open, following the shocking events in ‘Death metal #7’. A new and exciting future begins in Future State: Superman of Metropolis #1.

Due to extenuating circumstances Clark Kent has left Earth and has in-trusted its protection to his son, Jon Kent. Who is far too young for such responsibility, Jon feels the best way to protect Metropolis is to seal it up in a bottle and lock it away. Earning him the ire of its citizens, the military, and Supergirl.

In the bottled city heroes like The Guardian and Shiloh Norman (Mister Miracle) protect it from within, all whilst trying to find a way to break out of their new prison.

The first issue is really interesting because we’re just dropped into the events. Metropolis has been bottled for six months and is on the brink of collapse. The story is fresh, with very vibrant art from Cully Hamner. This feels very different from anything I’ve read before, which I wasn’t expecting. We’re given a fantastic exploration of the bottled city, six months in. The city is full of hate, rage, anger and fear. Reading this through the lens of this past year certainly adds to its impact. There’s always a sense the city could explode, at any moment.

Writer Sean Lewis has crafted a compelling story, with a young Superman completely out of his depth. Jon is no longer the happy-go-lucky kid we once knew, he’s older, jaded and cynical. He’s been given a huge responsibility and it’s absolutely crushing him. Lewis explores the mistakes a human with the powers of a God can make.

Review-Wake Up: Why the world has gone nuts

Whether you love him or loathe him, agree or disagree with him. You can’t ignore Piers Morgan. He’s on your TV. He’s been debated in Parliament. Even if you’ve got him blocked or muted, he’s on your Twitter timeline.

Through years of influential roles in journalism and broadcasting, Piers Morgan has positioned himself as a high-profile cultural commentator. He’s a divisive figure, best-known for his abrasive and combative interview style. For the past few years, he’s been the co-host of Good Morning Britain, an ITV show that boasts impressive viewing figures. It’s his experiences co-hosting this show, that provides the backdrop for his book. ‘Wake Up’ deals with issues of gender, Hollywood hypocrisy, identity politics and, free speech.



The book was originally intended to be a series of short essays, where Morgan would give his opinion on modern life. But then Covid 19 happened so the focus shifted. It’s told in diary form written between January-July 2020. Morgan examines all of the hot topic subjects one by one, as they occur. 2020 has been such a crazy ride, that I’d forgotten half the events Morgan talks about at the start of the book.

He makes some compelling arguments and he makes them well – for example when calling out Hollywood hypocrisy, he cites Natalie Portman’s speech at an awards show. Portman decried Hollywood’s lack of female directors, despite owning a production company that has only hired one female director, Natalie Portman.

At times, the book can come across as tabloid sensationalism and, I disagree with Piers Morgan on a lot of issues. However, I found Wake Up to be an interesting, engaging and entertaining read. Morgan argues that cancelling people isn’t the answer, instead, we should listen and find common ground. On that, I agree with him.

New Star Trek: Picard prequel book on the way

As a Star Trek fan, I loved seeing Jonathan Frakes and Marina Sirtis appear as William Riker and Deanna Troi in Star Trek: Picard. In the series, we saw the two former Starfleet officers living a peaceful life on the planet of Nepenthe.

In a prequel book titled Star Trek: Picard: The Dark Veil, written by veteran Star Trek author James Swallow. We learn how they came to be on Nepenthe.

This is the second Star Trek: Picard prequel book. The first was Star Trek: Picard: The Last Best Hope.

The synopsis reads:

The Alpha Quadrant is mired in crisis. Within the United Federation of Planets, a terrorist strike on the shipyards of Mars has led to the shutdown of all relief efforts for millions of Romulans facing certain doom from an impending super­nova. But when the USS Titan is drawn into a catastrophic incident on the Romulan-Federation border, Captain William Riker, his family, and his crew find themselves caught between the shocking secrets of an enigmatic alien species and the deadly agenda of a ruthless Tal Shiar operative. Forced into a wary alliance with a Romulan starship commander, Riker and the Titan crew must uncover the truth to stop a dev­astating attack—but one wrong move could plunge the entire sector into open conflict!

Star Trek: Picard: The Dark Veil goes on sale in January 2021.



New Trailer! Doctor Who Time Lord Victorious #1! Tenth Doctor! Daleks!

Time Lord victorious, is a thrilling new multi-platform adventure for the Tenth Doctor (as played by fan-favorite David Tennant) that sees the shocking return of his deadliest enemies: the Daleks! But things aren’t what they seem – time is all wrong, and something is coming that terrifies even the Daleks…

The first of two oversized issues kicking off the BBC’s highly anticipated multi-platform Doctor Who epic, Time Lord Victorious!

Artwork revealed for Titan’s Time lord victorious

A thrilling new adventure for the Tenth Doctor (as played by fan-favorite David Tennant) that sees the shocking return of his deadliest enemies: the Daleks! But things aren’t what they seem – time is all wrong, and something is coming that terrifies even the Daleks… The first of two oversized issues kicking off the BBC’s highly anticipated multi-platform Doctor Who epic, Time Lord Victorious!

Pre-order now from your local comic shop, Forbidden Planet
and ComiXology.

Review-Torchwood: The Hope

The Big Finish Torchwood range is always advertised with “This release contains adult material and may not be suitable for younger listeners” never has that statement been truer, than with this release. One of the many things James Goss excels at, is bleak. After giving us all nightmares with Corpse Day. He’s back with The Hope.

Megwyn Jones is one of the most hated women in Britain. She used to run a home for troubled children in an isolated part of Snowdonia called The Hope. For a long time there were rumours about what was happening there, and then one day it was realised that the children had gone missing.

Ever since, Megwyn’s kept her peace. Is she innocent? Is she guilty? Where are the bodies?

An audio play about a convicted child-murderer is never going to be an easy listen. However, James Goss has carved something of a masterpiece here. This is an audio that definitely rewards repeat listening.

Burn Gorman and Tom Price had such brilliant chemistry, in Corpse Day that I’ve been waiting impatiently for a follow up, ever since. Their chemistry is still present and their scenes together are pure gold. Andy’s eternal optimism is a perfect foil for Owen’s eternal pessimism. They also get a chance to shine separately, in scenes that are up there with the most horrific in Torchwood’s history. Siân Phillips is mesmerising as Megwyn Jones, you instantly dislike Megwyn-but you’re also fascinated by her.

The Hope couldn’t be any further away in tone, than last month’s ‘Serenity’. But that’s what makes this series so great. I enjoyed Torchwood on TV. But Big Finish Torchwood, is Torchwood at its absolute best.

Review-Buffy #1

It’s sometimes strange to think that Buffy the Vampire Slayer has been off the air, longer than it was ever on. Yet it continues to capture the imagination of the original audience, as well as picking up a new generation of fans a long the way.

Buffy began life as film, then became TV series-launching a successful spin-off, Angel. There have been variations of Buffy comics over the years, but they mostly carried on the adventures seen on TV. Boom! Studios have bravely decided to reboot the entire story, it’s still the Scooby gang. But with subtle differences, they’re teenagers in 2019-Willow is more confident than she ever was in the show and she’s gay from the get go, Robin Wood is a teenager and not the school principal, Joyce has a boyfriend, Cordillera is nice, Drusilla isn’t crazy, Xander is a tad geekier and to an extent, so is Buffy.

There’s no big introduction to Giles, he’s just there. Willow and Xander meet Buffy in a very different way, all of which allows for less exposition.

Jordie Bellaire has successfully captured the uniqueness of Sunnydale, the personalities of the characters, the shorthand in which Buffy, Willow, and Xander speak to each other. All whilst crafting a new story. That’s no easy task.

If you’re a fan of the Buffy TV show, you’re sure to find this entertaining. It can however, take a while to forget everything you know about the series. I’ve read this twice, because my first read had me stopping every page saying “Well, that’s different”. But, Boom! Studios has hit the ground running, with this reboot. This first issue is exhilarating.