The Flash Season Zero #1-2 (Comics Review)

In about two and a half weeks, something special is about to happen. As far as I can tell, that’s when two separate superhero shows based on DC properties will air side-by-side, with one being a spinoff of the other. Arrow has raked in lots of cash and popularity for Warner Bros, DC Entertainment and The CW in its two-year run so far and on October 7th The Flash will debut, featuring Arrow’s hot cameo last year, Grant Gustin as Barry Allen, the Scarlet Speedster. And as DC is wont to do, there will be companion comics, same as there were with Arrow, and a week back DC got it all started.

Based on what I’ve heard about the debut, based on the leaked episode one from a few weeks back, The Flash Season Zero takes place concurrent to the comics, even though it is being called Season Zero. Kind of like the Year Zero comics about other heroes that DC has done over the years, but paired with the first season of  a live-action show about the titular character. The first two issues here give the reader a brief intro into who Barry is and his role as The Flash, and then launch straight into a big arc that also sees the introduction of the C-lister villain Strong Man. Script is good, art is good, what more could I want?

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Future’s End #17-20 (Comics Review)

The first four months of Future’s End proved to be one hell of a ride. Though the title occasional faltered here and there, it was still a great, epic story that unfolded in a time five years in the future from the present timeline. Some of the things that I liked about this series was that it gave a lot of underdeveloped and underutilized heroes like Grifter, Deathstroke, Firestorm and many others a chance to shine. With all the different writers working on this, sometimes the stories could be a mess of different plotlines, but they were nevertheless quite entertaining and the artwork was almost always similarly impressive.

The fifth month (going by four issues equaling a month) sees a lot of revelations happening. For one, we finally learn what the deal with Superman in Future’s End is. Second, we revisit the ending of a previous issue in which Bruce Wayne of the future was captured by Brother Eye and Joker was brought in to experiment on him. These four issues contain some of my favourite moments in the series, though some of the things happening on Cadmus Island are beginning to give me a headache, and I’m still waiting for a lot more of the plot threads to be given their time to shine again.

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Original Sin: Thor and Loki #5 (Comics Review)

Marvel’s Original Sin event is now over, and with it are the tie-in mini-series Iron Man vs Hulk and Thor & Loki: The Tenth Realm. Of the two, I enjoyed the latter far more, right out of the gate, and it showed a lot of promise as well. That was compounded when it was revealed that next month the current Thor would no longer be Thor and that there would be a new Thor, a woman this time. So that was something I expected to unfold in this series, and the setup was definitely there. But then, the series started to falter a bit, though it was still a fun read and the finale was something I was looking forward to .

Thor & Loki: The Tenth Realm #5 is quite possible one of the most disappointing comics of this year, almost on par with how Batman: Zero Year ended up after such a great start. With the cliffhanger of the last issue, I expected things to go really big, really epic, but nothing of the sort happened. Odd character moments and a weak script combined with art that failed to live up to the promise, and I was just saddened by the time the issue ended. Nothing exciting happened here and the pacing was all over the place. Sad, sad example of promising mini-series turning to dust.

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Valkia the Bloody by Sarah Cawkwell (Book Review)

Soon after having The Gildar Rift published in late 2011, Sarah had a second novel published a few months later. This time she tackled Warhammer Fantasy, with a character that I’ve since come to love. Valkia is easily the match of other great female characters of other big franchises, and her origin story is quite a compelling one. Its a shame that there haven’t been more stories with Valkia told since, in the longer format that is, because she has the potential to be a really great character in the Warhammer Fantasy setting.

This review is a repost of the original review on The Founding Fields, which can be found here.

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Accursed Eternity by Sarah Cawkwell (Novella Review)

I’ve often credited Sarah as an inspiration to be a writer, specifically, to write Warhammer 40,000 fiction. Reading some of her early short stories for Black Library really got me hooked on to Warhammer at a time when I was getting back into the swing of things (for the second time), and I was quite pleased when her debut novel, The Gildar Rift, came out and turned out to be a damn good read in the bargain. She has written quite a few other stories for Black Library since, and one of the best has to be her novella Accursed Eternity, which was initially released as an eBook before being collected as a part of the anthology Architect of Fate. It is a great stand-alone story, and certainly one I’d recommend highly, especially because Sarah has been one of the best things to happen to Black Library in recent years.

This review is a repost of the original review on The Founding Fields, which can be found here.

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Unity #10-11 (Comics Review)

Valiant Comics’ Armor Hunters crossover event is coming to a close very soon. In fact, I think the fourth (and final?) issue comes out this coming “New Comic Book Day”, three days from now. It has been quite a refreshing event for someone who is used to big, sweeping epic events from the Big 2, DC and Marvel. It has been small-scale in terms of how many titles it has affected, but it has been sweeping and epic in its own way. One of the titles caught up in its wake is Valiant’s superteam book Unity which launched last year and has proven to be among the top tier comics currently on shelves quite consistently..

Armor Hunters continues in the events of Unity #10 and #11 where the superteam Unity has gone up against the sentient robotic starship GIN-GR, and has had to face up to some really weird consequences of that. Not all the members of the team are involved of course since Ninjak and Gilad are, at first, up against the Armor Hunters’ ravenous hounds elsewhere before they get to Los Angeles for a showdown with GIN-GR, but there is some really great emotional story here, showing that Matt Kindt is just superb in both his plotting and his dialogue and everything. And I loved the art in both issues too, so that says something as well.

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Sensation Comics #6 (Comics Review)

Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman has given me something I’ve wanted to in the New 52 since I gave up on Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang’s Wonder Woman: a Wonder Woman title that I can actually have fun reading and not want to head-desk after. All the stories in this digital-first title have been short affairs, alternating between one-shots and two-parters, with each set of three then being collected in the print format. The stories have also been continuity-free and quite classic at times, which is just another big thing in the title’s favour.

The new issue this week sees the end of Ivan Cohen, Marcus To and Andrew Dalhouse’s two-parter Taketh Away. In the last issue we saw that after Diana spoke on national television about her gods, the Greek gods, not requiring the worship of the American people, she began to lose her powers, whether her strength or her beauty or something else. In this issue, Ivan Cohen solves the mystery for the reader and shows Wonder Woman at her best, as the title has done consistently in the past five issues. There’s a bit of hand-waiving involved here which didn’t work so well for me, but I loved the story and the art nonetheless.

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Hot Blooded by Amanda Carlson (Book Review)

Largely because of how good Full Blooded was, the sequel Hot Blooded had an easy time of making it to my “Most Anticipated Books of 2013” list. Reading Full Blooded made me want to take more of an interest in mainstream urban fantasy, and on that front the sequel to Amanda Carlson’s debut delivered quite nicely. Jessica McClain was awesome all the way through, and while there were some faltering steps in here, it was still a great read, and I’d definitley recommend the series.

This review is a repost of the original review on The Founding Fields, which can be found here.

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Full Blooded by Amanda Carlson (Book Review)

Full Blooded wasn’t my first urban fantasy read of 2012, not by a long shot, but it was definitely one of the most fun such books I read in that year. So much so that I made it a point to read more urban fantasy novels in 2013 (and 2014!), including some of the more… traditional types of urban fantasies that have become mainstream in the last decade or so. Full Blooded was a downright surprise, I can tell you that, and it also made me a fan of Amanda Carlson’s work, which has been quite satisfying an experience on all levels.

This review is a repost of the original review on The Founding Fields, which can be found here.

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Tales From The Cobra Wars by Max Brooks (Book Review)

I started reading G.I.Joe comics back in 2006, when I worked through the entire Marvel run in about a month flat, which is kind of a staggering rate, but then again, I didn’t have anything to do in the summer holidays that year. It wasn’t until six years later, in 2012, that I got back into the world of G.I. Joe comics thanks to IDW Publishing, which had secured the rights to such. I followed them only intermittently however, but when I heard that IDW had also put out a prose anthology of G.I. Joe stories, my interest peaked a great deal. And here we are now.

This review is a repost of the original review on The Founding Fields, which can be found here.

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Future’s End: Supergirl and Teen Titans (Comics Review)

After what proved to be a pretty damn good first week, the second and third weeks of Future’s End have proven to be less than spectacular. A lot of the issues have either been dead-ends or just plain boring. DC’s penchant for making September the big event month shows once again that such things are rarely a good idea, especially since a lot of the stories have zilch to do with the actual Future’s End event, and they are more of just one-shots. A lot of the recent issues have been plagued by this sadly, and few have come out on top despite that kind of handicap.

This week’s Future’s End one-shots for Supergirl and Teen Titans have been a mixed bag for sure. The former has seemingly very little to do with the event, which kind of kills me since I wanted very much to know what Kara has been doing in the years since the war with Earth 2 and the disappearance of Superman from Earth 1. With the latter, we see how a new Teen Titans team has stepped into the shows of the old one, and this one is from Earth 2 no less! Right mix of stories here, and I found that I, surprisingly enough, loved both of them, despite having dropped off both titles sometime last year. Now I’m excited again!

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Witchblade Volume 2 (Graphic Novel Review)

Witchblade is one of Top Cow’s biggest IPs, by far. Unless I am mistaken, it is one of the publisher’s only two titles to have made it past the landmark 100th issue, and the only one to have made it past the landmark 175th issue as well. And one writer who has shaped this incredible run, more than others I’d reckon, is Ron Marz, who enjoyed a seventy-plus issue tenure before he got back on the title with issue #170 last year. Of all the Witchblade stories I’ve read to date, Ron Marz’s scripts have been the most consistent and engaging and my current read-through of his run has been a very rewarding experience.

Witchblade Volume 2 continues everything that Ron Marz setup in Witchblade Volume 1, taking the Witchblade’s bearer Sara Pezzini into new environs and with new supporting cast members. Unlike the previous volume, this one contains many one-shots that slowly build-up a larger story continuing the plot threads that Ron introduced at the start of his run. If anything, I enjoyed this volume even more than the first, though it should be said that sometimes the stories can be a bit too much by-the-numbers. Like Phil Hester says in the introduction to this volume, Ron defies expectations and notions of genre limitations.

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