Brian Boru is an enjoyable read, written with a narrative skill that carries the reader forward and brings some sense to the chaotically shifting alliances of the period. You never forget that this is a story set in a brutal time, nor is the backwardness of society ever glossed over for modern readers.
Commando is a British comics institution. The title has been appearing continuously since the early 1960s and is one of the last of the old-school British comics. Each diminutive issue presents the reader with a self-contained war story, usually set in the Second World War. The book typically presents a rather unreconstructed version of military events, with the British and their allies as the good guys and the Germans, Japanese and so on as sinister villains.
This comes from the publisher Creator’s Edge and is an introduction to what will apparently be a full graphic novel later this year. It has a Western setting, with a protagonist reminiscent of such enigmatic characters from the films as Shane or Clint Eastwood’s man with no name. However, it is not a straight Western, as it incorporates supernatural horror elements on a scale to render the setting almost post-apocalyptic.
This 2009 graphic novel seems to have done sufficiently well to produce a recent sequel, Grandville Mon Amour. It is a rather odd beast, presenting us with a story set in a world where France won the Napoleonic Wars and still rules the continent in the early 21st century, with Britain having been granted independence only a few decades earlier. The story is mostly set in Paris, now renamed Grandville (hence the title), now a kind of steampunk theme park with excitingly retro-futuristic technology.
Berlin is a comic set in… Berlin. It is set in the early years of the 20th century, with this particular issue occurring in that awkward period between the onset of the Great Depression and the Nazis’ assumption of power. So we are in the last days of Weimar Germany.
DMZ is a Vertigo title set in a near future America in which the USA is caught up in a civil war between redneck libertarian gun nuts and the brutal military-industrial complex who control the central government. The series is set in New York, which is some kind of frontline or demilitarised zone between the two sides. I suppose the idea is to show First World readers what modern war is like, by bringing an Iraq-style maelstrom home to that most quintessentially American city.
The Extremist was a four issue limited series from Vertigo in the early 1990s that they have now reissued as part of their Vertigo Resurrected line. Set in San Francisco, the book concerns itself with the Order, an organisation of Sadeans with outré sexual urges.
Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips have been making comics together for some time now. Incognito is an attempt to apply the approach seen in their Criminal to something bearing a closer relationship to mainstream superhero comics.
The Unwritten is a Vertigo title that looks at how the world of fiction interacts with the real world. As the narrative unfolds, we are presented with the possibility that characters from stories can become real and manifest in the physical world, though of course that physical world is itself only a comic strip representation.