Advent Reviews Day 24: Not Really A Review, Something Different

As the title says, I was conflicted about what to post for today’s Advent Reviews. I didn’t want to do any negative reviews, for an obvious reason: today is Christmas Eve after all and it’s time for good cheer, not for me to rain down on someone’s parade! Doing negative reviews before was fine, kind of. I didn’t want to do a positive review either, since I do so damn many of them anyway. I often take a lot of flak for being that positive, especially when it comes to Black Library publications, so I wasn’t really on the mind for any of that either. Just thinking of any possible backlash rains down on my parade, you know? In short, I didn’t want to do a review period. What follows is a stream-of-consciousness post. Apologies for any incoherency.

First off, here’s a pic of my most recent print purchases from my most trusted bookstore here in Dubai: Kinokuniya. They opened recently (to my knowledge that is) and I’ve been going there for the last six month, whether just to browse or to buy, whether it’s comics or novels.

24122012621Left to right, top to bottom that is: the Marvel 2013 Calendar for their Marvel NOW! relaunch; Batman #14-15 by Scott Snyder; the Marvel NOW! Free Previews #2; Witchblade: Rebirth Volume 1 by Tim Seeley; The Darkness: Rebirth Volume 1 by David Hine; Birds of Prey: The Death of Oracle by Gail Simone.

Pretty damn exciting stuff, I have to say, even though my small experience so far with Marvel NOW! hasn’t been anywhere near as good as it has been with DC’s New 52, which is a much better endeavour in scope and result than Marvel NOW! has been. I have a feeling that given the success of New 52, Marvel just felt compelled and under pressure to put out something similar. The only title among the ones I’ve read that I’ve enjoyed so far is Jason Aaron’s Thor, God of Thunder, the third issue of which I read last night (my review of #1). But still, a “relaunch” is still a great way to get familiar with the characters I dare say.

As it happens, I already follow Snyder’s Batman run in digital so it probably doesn’t make sense to follow it in print. My excuse is that I’m collecting the “Death of the Family” arc for the title. I mean, this is the best series in the entire New 52 relaunch, although the numero uno spot is contested pretty hotly between Batman and James Robinson’s Earth 2 in my opinion. Still, with this new crossover arc, Snyder as writer and Greg Capullo as penciller are at their absolute best. As you will see soon, #14 makes it to my “Best of the Best Part 2″ list as one of the best comics single issues of the year. So that’s that. My review of Batman #13-15 can be found here.

I reviewed Hine’s The Darkness: Rebirth Volume 1 a few weeks ago, and it was easily one of the best graphic novels I’ve read this year. Unsurprisingly therefore, it too is on my upcoming “Best of the Best Part 2″ list. When I saw the book in the store the other day, and noticed that it was pretty much at half-price compared to all the other IDW, Dark Horse, DC, and Marvel titles, I just had to pick this sweet, sweet book up. I mean, the artwork is excellent, and the script is top notch. Top Cow has definitely been one of my favourite publishers to be reading this year!

Which brings me to Tim Seeley’s Witchblade: Rebirth Volume 1.  This is roughly parallel to Hine’s book above, since it too follows on from Ron Marz’s run (ongoing) for Artifacts, which was the Top Cow Universe redefining itself following some pretty huge civil war-type stuff. I haven’t read much of Witchblade at all, whether it be the Top Cow/Image comics or the ones from Dynamite Entertainment, but Sara Pezzini/Witchblade are definitely some of my top characters for the year. Really looking forward to this one!

And of course, we finally get to Birds of Prey: The Death of Oracle. I’ve been having a ton of fun on Duane Swierczynski’s New 52 run for Birds of Prey (my review of #0), as well as the first arc of Simone’s Batgirl (my review). So this book is a perfect match of both writer and content. Those who follow my blog know that I ran a piece a few days ago about Simone being fired from Batgirl following the expiry of her contract with DC. In it, I talked about why I picked up Batgirl, and the main reason was that I wanted to read about a female superhero done right (Brian Azzarello’s Wonder Woman has been slumming it pretty bad since about #8and I’m not sure why I’m still following that series), as well as something where the writer credit is squarely on a female writer (I love Amanda Conner’s Before Watchmen: Silk Spectre but she’s cowriting that with Darwyn Cooke). I’m also happy to report that as of just two-three days ago, Simone is back on Batgirl with #19 (#17-18 being written by a Ray Fawkes, someone I’ve never heard of before, and is not surprising since I’m hardly familiar with most comics writers). Also, that cover there is MIND-BLOWING.

So yeah, that’s all I got on that front.

As far as comics reviewing goes, I appear to be settling into a rhythm with it, as far as posting stuff on The Founding Fields is concerned. I appear to be doing roughly one comic review to one-two novel reviews a month. That when I wasn’t even reading them until April/March! Definitely have come a long way from that. I also have a semi-permanent reviewing spot on my friend Stefan Fergus’ Civilian Reader blog, where my reviews so far have predominantly for the Before Watchmen series, although I’ve done other stuff for him as well. And following that Batgirl review for the Hugo Award-winning SF Signal blog, I’ll be keeping on with that as well as best as I can, gods willing. We shall see what comes of it. You guys will definitely know soon!

And that’s all I got for you for today.

Have an awesome Christmas Eve/Christmas celebration and Happy Holidays people!!

Posted on December 25, 2012, in 2012 Reading Challenge, 2012 Writing Challenge, Book Reviews, Comics News, Comics Reviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. I’ll be damned: Kinokuniya were my local bookstore (for English-language stuff, anyway) when I lived in Kumamoto, Japan. Bizarre…

    People really give you flak for writing positive reviews? That seems odd. I tend not to review bad stuff, as you know, because I don’t finish them. What’s wrong with wanting to write about the stuff you love to read? I get the feeling, sometimes, that some reviewers have this strange, perhaps out-dated notion of what a “reviewer” actually is – it’s as if they want to model themselves on the Book Critics of yore, become the next George Orwell or something (his essay on being a book reviewer is excellent, FYI). Sometimes it looks like the passion and pleasure aspect is stripped from reviews. After all, isn’t that why most of us got into this in the first place? That’s also not to say that negative reviews don’t have their place or worth. Just that… Well, mine tend just to be disappointed reviews, more than negative.

    Sorry, that was a bit of a ramble.

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    • Ramblings are welcome :-) The bit about positive reviews is that the BL fandom is so…. divisive. There wouldn’t be any issues if people didn’t think that a trio of BL authors were the best thing since sliced bread, or maybe even sex. But they do, so a lot of the fan-wanking really puts me off and lo behold should I critique negatively two of them, then the legions come out to defend. Which, I suppose, is not that different from the fans of most mainstream authors. Should I positively critique the new guys, or the ones the fandom historically considers to be terrible, then too the legions come out, frothing at the mouth. Ignoring IS the best thing I could do, and I do ignore it all usually, but sometimes it just gets under my skin :D

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  2. I’m going to have to pay a visit to my local comic store after the January Trade Paperback releases of the New 52 Volumes I think – and I may have to see how many back issues of Snyder’s Batman they have in print – even though Comixology is awesome, I’m recently re-converted reading the print reading comics.

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