Best of 2013 Part 1

I did two “Best of the…” lists last year, one for the half-year from January to June, and the other for the half-year from July to December. The lists proved to be quite popular, and I was recently asked if I was going to be doing any more. To which I said yes. I like putting together lists like this. It gives me a chance to reflect a bit on all the good stuff I’ve been reading in novels and comics, or listening to in terms of audiobooks, audio dramas and so on.

You can check out my top-of-the-month lists on my Reading Awards page and this list is both an extension, and a continuation of what goes on there.

Let’s see what makes the cut and which comes close then!

A few notes:

  • As usual, the list is a slight departure from how I do my Reading Awards, I’m going to be presenting the Top 6 here, not the Top 3.
  • The list is divided into four sections – Novels, Audios, Comics (Single Issues), and Comics (Graphic Novels) – each with two subsections – the Top 6 and the Honourable Mentions (The Audios section is only 3 and 3 since I didn’t listen to all that much audio stuff so far this year).
  • And just to repeat, this is a January-June 2013 list.
  • The numbering is just for convenience, and because I like numbers.
  • Finally, some of the content descriptions have been beefed up so that the formatting is consistent, and this is why the images for the single issue comics are different from the rest of the article.

So let’s have at it, yeah?

Best of the Best Novels

The Top 6 -

1. Theirs Not To Reason Why #2: An Officer’s Duty by Jean Johnson

An Officer's Duty Official URL | Goodreads | My Review | Guest Post

Jean Johnson—the national bestselling author of the Sons of Destiny novels—returns to the world she introduced in A Soldier’s Duty with a terrible vision of the future…

Promoted in the field for courage and leadership under fire, Ia is now poised to become an officer in the Space Force Navy—once she undertakes her Academy training. But on a trip back home to Sanctuary, she finds the heavyworld colony being torn apart by religious conflict.

Now Ia must prepare her family and followers to secure the galaxy’s survival. Her plan is to command a Blockade Patrol ship. Her goal, to save as many lives as she can. But at the Academy, she discovers an unexpected challenge: the one man who could disrupt those plans.

The man whose future she cannot foresee..

2. Wall of Night #2: Gathering of the Lost by Helen Lowe

17 Gathering of the Lost Official URL (UK) | Official URL (US) | Goodreads | My Review | Guest Post

Tarathan of Ar and Jehane Mor, ride into the great city of Ij in time for it’s grand Festival of Masks. But soon after their arrival they witness a terrible slaughter as their fellow heralds are targeted an assassinated. They must flee for their lives across the city as they discover Swarm agents at work as they attempt to destabilise the entire River Cities network for their own ends.

And five years after her great flight from the Derai Wall, Malian remains hidden to those who seek her. But she has not been idle. Her goal is to muster all Derai magic users that have fled into exile rather than face destruction. Only by uniting against the Swarm menace can they hold their own against the dark tide and she has hunted down every rumour of their presence.

And she has developed her own powers that the Swarm must learn to respect and to fear. For Malian won’t see her people fall to a dark tide of twisted magic as demonic forces subvert a way of life.

3. Mistborn #1: The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson

BrandonSandersonMistborn01 Official URL | Goodreads | My Review

Brandon Sanderson, fantasy’s newest master tale spinner, author of the acclaimed debut Elantris, dares to turn a genre on its head by asking a simple question: What if the hero of prophecy fails? What kind of world results when the Dark Lord is in charge? The answer will be found in the Mistborn Trilogy, a saga of surprises and magical martial-arts action that begins in Mistborn.

For a thousand years the ash fell and no flowers bloomed. For a thousand years the Skaa slaved in misery and lived in fear. For a thousand years the Lord Ruler, the “Sliver of Infinity,” reigned with absolute power and ultimate terror, divinely invincible. Then, when hope was so long lost that not even its memory remained, a terribly scarred, heart-broken half-Skaa rediscovered it in the depths of the Lord Ruler’s most hellish prison. Kelsier “snapped” and found in himself the powers of a Mistborn. A brilliant thief and natural leader, he turned his talents to the ultimate caper, with the Lord Ruler himself as the mark.

Kelsier recruited the underworld’s elite, the smartest and most trustworthy allomancers, each of whom shares one of his many powers, and all of whom relish a high-stakes challenge. Only then does he reveal his ultimate dream, not just the greatest heist in history, but the downfall of the divine despot.

But even with the best criminal crew ever assembled, Kel’s plan looks more like the ultimate long shot, until luck brings a ragged girl named Vin into his life. Like him, she’s a half-Skaa orphan, but she’s lived a much harsher life. Vin has learned to expect betrayal from everyone she meets, and gotten it. She will have to learn to trust, if Kel is to help her master powers of which she never dreamed.

Readers of Elantris thought they’d discovered someone special in Brandon Sanderson. Mistborn proves they were right.

4. Leverage: The Con Job by Matt Forbeck

9780425253830H Official URL | Goodreads | My Review | Guest Post

The rich and powerful take what they want.

We steal it back for you.

When a disreputable dealer starts swindling aged and ailing comic-book creators out of their wealth—and their high-valued comics and artwork — the daughter of one victim comes to ex-insurance investigator Nathan Ford and his team of counter-crooks for help.

Their scheme: run a con at the Comic-Con International, where the crook intends to sell the goods.

But there’s more going on than simple theft. An arson plot is in motion that will not only destroy countless rare collectibles, but may end up costing lives.

With time short, the team must take down a ruthless mark whose true motives have yet to be revealed…

5. Gotrek & Felix: Road of Skulls by Josh Reynolds

Road-of-Skulls Official URL | Goodreads | My Review | Guest Post

Gotrek and Felix: unsung heroes of the Empire, or nothing more than common thieves and murderers?

The truth perhaps lies somewhere in between, and depends entirely upon whom you ask…

Gotrek and Felix race to the dwarf hold at Karak Kadrin, finding it besieged by one of the grand armies of Chaos warlord Garmr. When King Ungrim Ironfist speaks of the legendary ‘Road of Skulls’ and of the hated foe’s attempts to open a portal into the Realm of Chaos, Gotrek senses that a great doom awaits him – though it may not be the one he would choose for himself.

As the king’s own son leads his army of Slayers to fulfil an ancient prophecy, it seems that Garmr’s hour of victory may be at hand.

6. ®Evolution #1: Gemsigns by Stephanie Saulter

gemsigns Official URL | Goodreads | My Review | Guest Post

Humanity stands on the brink. Again.

Surviving the Syndrome meant genetically modifying almost every person on the planet. But norms and gems are different. Gems may have the superpowers that once made them valuable commodities, but they also have more than their share of the disabled, the violent and the psychotic.

After a century of servitude, freedom has come at last for the gems, and not everyone’s happy about it. The gemtechs want to turn them back into property. The godgangs want them dead. The norm majority is scared and suspicious, and doesn’t know what it wants.

Eli Walker is the scientist charged with deciding whether gems are truly human, and as extremists on both sides raise the stakes, the conflict descends into violence. He’s running out of time, and with advanced prototypes on the loose, not everyone is who or what they seem. Torn between the intrigues of ruthless executive Zavcka Klist and brilliant, badly deformed gem leader Aryel Morningstar, Eli finds himself searching for a truth that might stop a war.

Honourable Mentions –

1. Ack-Ack Macaque by Gareth Powell

ACK-ACK MACAQUE Official URL | Goodreads | My Review

In 1944, as waves of German ninjas parachute into Kent, Britain’s best hopes for victory lie with a Spitfire pilot codenamed ‘Ack-Ack Macaque’. The trouble is, Ack-Ack Macaque is a cynical, one-eyed, cigar-chomping monkey, and he’s starting to doubt everything, including his own existence.

A century later, in a world where France and Great Britain merged in the late 1950s and nuclear-powered Zeppelins encircle the globe, ex-journalist Victoria Valois finds herself drawn into a deadly game of cat and mouse with the man who butchered her husband and stole her electronic soul.

Meanwhile, in Paris, after taking part in an illegal break-in at a research laboratory, the heir to the British throne goes on the run. And all the while, the doomsday clock ticks towards Armageddon.

2. War of Vengeance #1: The Great Betrayal by Nick Kyme

The Great Betryal Official URL | Goodreads | My Review

Thousands of years before the rise of men, the dwarfs and elves are stalwart allies and enjoy a era of unrivalled peace and prosperity.

But when dwarf trading caravans are attacked and their merchants slain, the elves are accused of betrayal. Quick to condemn the people of Ulthuan as traitors, the mountain lords nevertheless try to prevent conflict, but the elves’ arrogance undoes any chance of reconciliation and war is inevitable.

Snorri Halfhand, son of the High King and no particular friend of the elves, is at the vanguard of the war with his cousin Morgrim Blackbeard. At the city of Tor Alessi a vast army stands against the dwarfs. Here Snorri will meet his destiny against the elven King Caledor as the first blow is struck in a conflict that could bring about the fall of two great civilisations.

3. The Powder Mage #1: Promise of Blood by Brian McClellan

promise of blood Official URL | Goodreads | My Review | Guest Post

The Age of Kings is dead . . . and I have killed it.

It’s a bloody business overthrowing a king…
Field Marshal Tamas’ coup against his king sent corrupt aristocrats to the guillotine and brought bread to the starving. But it also provoked war with the Nine Nations, internal attacks by royalist fanatics, and the greedy to scramble for money and power by Tamas’s supposed allies: the Church, workers unions, and mercenary forces.
It’s up to a few…
Stretched to his limit, Tamas is relying heavily on his few remaining powder mages, including the embittered Taniel, a brilliant marksman who also happens to be his estranged son, and Adamat, a retired police inspector whose loyalty is being tested by blackmail.

But when gods are involved…
Now, as attacks batter them from within and without, the credulous are whispering about omens of death and destruction. Just old peasant legends about the gods waking to walk the earth. No modern educated man believes that sort of thing. But they should…

4. Warhammer Heroes: Van Horstmann by Ben Counter

VanHorstmann Official URL | Goodreads | My Review

The latest Warhammer Heroes book from an old favorite of BL fans.

Egrimm van Horstmann is the most promising wizard the College of Light has ever seen. Surpassing his mentors and reaching new heights of magical power, he seems destined to lead the College into a bright new future.

But van Horstmann’s true motives are sinister – he plans to unleash an ancient dragon imprisoned beneath the college and bring ruin to the Empire, in the name of the Dark Gods.

Note: This novel marks the return of Ben Counter to long-form Warhammer fiction and is also his first full-length Warhammer Fantasy work.

5. The Legend of Eli Monpress #2: The Spirit Rebellion by Rachel Aaron

16 Spirit Rebellion Official URL | Goodreads | My Review |

Eli Monpress is brilliant. He’s incorrigible. And he’s a thief.

He’s also still at large, which drives Miranda Lyonette crazy. While she’s been kicked out of the Spirit Court, Eli’s had plenty of time to plan his next adventure. But now the tables have turned, because Miranda has a new job — and an opportunity to capture a certain thief.

Things are about to get exciting for Eli. He’s picked a winner for his newest heist. His target: the Duke of Gaol’s famous “thief-proof” citadel. Eli knows Gaol is a trap, but what’s life without challenges? Except the Duke is one of the wealthiest men in the world, a wizard who rules his duchy with an iron fist, and an obsessive perfectionist with only one hobby: Eli.

It seems that everyone is hunting for Eli Monpress.

6. Cora Oglesby #2: She Returns From War by Lee Collins

SheReturnsFromWar-144dpi Official URL | Goodreads | My Review | Guest Post

Four years after the horrific events in Leadville, a young woman from England, Victoria Dawes, sets into motion a series of events that will lead Cora and herself out into the New Mexico desert in pursuit of Anaba, a Navajo witch bent on taking revenge for the atrocities committed against her people.

Best of the Best Audios

The Top 3 -

1. Gotrek & Felix: Curse of the Everliving by David Guymer

audio-curse-of-the-everliving Official URL | Goodreads | My Review

Audio drama starring Gotrek & FelixGotrek and Felix: unsung heroes of the Empire, or nothing more than common thieves and murderers? The truth perhaps lies somewhere in between, and depends entirely upon whom you ask… While travelling north in pursuit of hobgoblin gold, Gotrek and Felix find themselves holed up in the infamous Castle Bilenkov as guests of the curious Count Viktor. While the old man seems harmless enough, Felix soon finds himself the target of an ancient Kislevite curse, battling for his very soul against the insidious daemon Ghrizzhtadt. With Gotrek’s resistance to magic waning, the adventurers have no choice but to confront the eternal evil of the Everliving.

2. The Last Days of Krypton by Kevin J. Anderson

lastdaysofkrypton Official URL | Goodreads | My Review

Everyone knows how Kal-El—Superman—was sent to Earth just before his planet exploded. But what led to such a disaster? Now, in The Last Days of Krypton, Kevin J. Anderson presents a sweeping tale of the pomp and grandeur, the intrigue and passion, and the politics and betrayals of a doomed world filled with brave heroes and cruel traitors.

Against the spectacular backdrop of Krypton’s waning halcyon days, there is the courtship and marriage of Kal-El’s parents, the brilliant scientist Jor-El and his historian wife, Lara. Together they fight to convince a stagnant, disbelieving society that their world is about to end. Jor-El’s brother, Zor-El, leader of the fabled Argo City, joins the struggle not only to save the planet but also to fight against the menace of the ruthless and cunning General Zod.

The diabolical Zod, future archenemy of Superman, avails himself of a golden opportunity to seize power when the android Brainiac captures the capital city of Kandor. As Zod’s grip on the populace tightens and his power grows, he too is blind to all the signs that point to the death of the very civilization he is trying to rule.

Through all of this, Jor-El and Lara’s love for each other, their history, and their son allows for Krypton to live on even as the planet is torn apart around them. For in the escape of their baby lies Krypton’s greatest gift—and Earth’s greatest hero.

The Last Days of Krypton is a timeless, ground-breaking exploration of a world that has never been fully defined, and reveals the extraordinary origins of a legend that has never ceased to amaze and astound generation after generation.

3. Judge Dredd: War Crimes by David Bishop

War Crimes Official URL | Goodreads | My Review

2104 AD: Mega-City One is close to capitulation during the Apocalypse War, with half the population dead and invaders on the streets. Judge Dredd saves his city by nuking East-Meg One out of existence, killing half a billion people.

2126 AD: Dredd wakes up in an interrogation cell, stripped of his weapons and uniform, manacled to a chair. Implanted in the Judge’s spine are electrodes that deliver crippling shock treatments directly into his central nervous system.

For the next sixty minutes Dredd will be interrogated by an inquisitor determined to make the Judge admit to war crimes. It will be the longest hour of Dredd’s life.

 Honourable Mentions -

1. Horus Heresy: Veritas Ferrum by David Annandale

Veritas Ferrum Official URL | Goodreads | My Review

The Iron Hands warship Veritas Ferrum arrives in the Isstvan system in the second wave of Imperial forces. Battered by the foes and forced to retreat, the crew must make a difficult choice when survivors of the massacre ask for aid.

ABOUT THE BOOK
An Iron Hands story by David Annandale

“I am developing a real taste for David Annadale’s work, and Veritas Ferrum is a satisfying and tantalising morsel.” – John French

2. Judge Dredd: Trapped on Titan by Jonathan Clements

Trapped on Titan Official URL | Goodreads | My Review

It’s the most hellish place in the Solar System – a prison for the Earth’s worst criminals. Now Titan is under new management – a cabal of two-faced spin doctors intent on bleeding the inmates dry.

But something is out there on the freezing plains of Titan. For thirty years, people have committed murder to keep it quiet, but now its secret has escaped. Time is running short for Titan, and Dredd alone can stop the killing.

The future of the Earth is at stake, and Dredd must go into the prison undercover. He must walk among serial-killers and mass-murderers to find the answer to the puzzle, before he spends the rest of his life Trapped on Titan!

3. Judge Dredd: For King and Country by Cavan Scott

King and Country Official URL | Goodreads | My Review

“This royal throne of kings, this sceptr’d isle… this blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this Brit-Cit.”

When the royal family of England is wiped out by a terrorist attack, the authorities prepare for a coronation at Nu-Westminster Abbey. Yet, as the Pomp and Circumstance machine begins to roll the unsuspecting heir to the throne is discovered on the streets of Mega City One.

Judge Dredd is forced to endure the pageantry whe he is dispatched to protect the young king and finds himself thrown into a world of demanding divas, cockney kidnappers and souvenir tea-cups. The king is dead, how long will the new king survive?

Best of the Best Comics – Single Issues

The Top 6 -

1. New 52: Earth 2 Annual by James Robinson

Earth 2 Annual 2013 Official URL | Goodreads | My Review

The new Batman of Earth 2 debuts as The Atom begins a mission to lead a new team of heroes—but are any of them prepared for the threat they’re about to face?

2. Marvel NOW! X-Men #1 by Brian Wood

XMenBW01Official URL | Goodreads | My Review

Because you demanded it! The X-Women finally get their own book, from critically acclaimed superstars Brian Wood (X-MEN, ULTIMATE X-MEN, DMZ, The Massive) and Olivier Coipel (AVX, HOUSE OF M, THOR)! An old enemy shows up at the X-Men’s door, seeking asylum from an ancient evil come back to earth. Meanwhile, Jubilee has come home, and she’s brought with her an orphaned baby who might hold the key to the earth’s survival…or its destruction. Against a backdrop of what seems like an alien invasion and an eons-spanning war between brother and sister, Storm steps up and puts together a team to protect the child and stop a new threat that could destroy all life on earth!

3. New 52: Batman #21 by Scott Snyder

Batman 21 Official URL | Goodreads | My Review

Witness The New 52 origin of The Dark Knight in BATMAN: ZERO YEAR!

Twists and turns are around every corner as Bruce Wayne takes the final steps toward his destiny!

And in the backup story, learn more about how different Gotham City was at this dangerous point in time.

4. Star Wars #6 by Brian Wood

Star Wars 06Official URL | Goodreads | My Review

When he and Chewbacca are cornered by Imperials, Han Solo resorts to an improvised plan—with the most dangerous results imaginable! Meanwhile, half a galaxy away, Princess Leia and Wedge Antilles prepare for certain death, unaware that Luke Skywalker has an improvisation of his own. And Darth Vader is watching . . .

Sketch variant by Alex Ross!

“It all just feels like Star Wars, and for a franchise that has been around for over 30 years, D’Anda somehow finds a way to inject new life into it.”—Complex

Issue #1 and #2 were instant sellouts!

5. Marvel NOW! Thor: God of Thunder #9 by Jason Aaron

Thor 09Official URL | Goodreads | My Review

GODBOMB Part Three of Five: Three Thors, side by side at last, united in battle! But will even that be enough, as Gorr the God Butcher’s grand plan nears completion and his powers grow beyond anything we’ve seen before…?

6. New 52: Batgirl #21 by Gail Simone

Batgirl 21Official URL | Goodreads | My Review

Batgirl’s chilling battle against the new Ventriloquist continues—but has Barbara gone too far? How can she carry on as Batgirl? What choices will she make, and how will her new, decidedly deadly admirer affect her decision?

Honourable Mentions -

1. New 52: Green Lantern #20 by Geoff Johns

Green Lantern 20Official URL | Goodreads | My Review

It’s the final battle against the First Lantern and the Guardians in this, the extra-sized finale of Geoff Johns’ historic run on the title! Plus, don’t miss a special retrospective on Geoff’s run on GL!

2. Before Watchmen: Minutemen #6 by Darwyn Cooke

Before Watchmen Minutemen 06Official URL | Goodreads | My Review

“You’ll do what I say or I’ll burn this place to the ground and kill every person you know.”

3. New 52: Justice League of America’s Vibe #5 by Sterling Gates

Vibe 05Official URL | Goodreads | My Review

On the run from A.R.G.U.S., Vibe jumps into the crosshairs of the Suicide Squad!

4. New 52: Aquaman #19 by Geoff Johns

Aquaman 19Official URL | Goodreads | My Review

The Ice King takes the throne as the true king of Atlantis—but who will be the first to kneel before him?

5. New 52: Justice League of America #1 by Geoff Johns

JLA 01Official URL | Goodreads | My Review

• The march toward TRINITY WAR begins with part one of “WORLD’S MOST DANGEROUS”!

• Green Lantern! Green Arrow! Catwoman! Katana! Vibe! Hawkman! Stargirl! They aren’t the world’s greatest super heroes—they’re the most dangerous! But why does a team like the JLA need to exist? What is their ultimate mission? And who is pulling the strings?

• Plus: Find out why Martian Manhunter is the most dangerous of them all. Period.

6. Vampirella Strikes #1 by Tom Sniegoski

vampstrikes1Official URL | Goodreads | My Review

Fearful that her monstrous nature is taking control, Vampirella takes solace in some extreme violence, and conversation, all topped off with a nice glass of Merlot, in a Boston tavern overrun by the demonic in the first part of this six issue story. Living in a world of growing supernatural threats, Vampirella never knows what she will be facing from one moment to the next, but what she finds waiting for her in her Boston Brownstone when she returns from a night of hunting is the most unexpected of all. Angels of Heaven sent by God . . . and they want Vampirella to work for them.

Best of the Best Comics – Graphic Novels

The Top 6 -

1. Green Lantern: Rebirth by Geoff Johns

Green Lantern - Rebirth Official URL | Goodreads | My Review

The sold out 6-issue miniseries event of 2004-2005 — written by Geoff Johns (BLACKEST NIGHT, TEEN TITANS) with art by Ethan Van Sciver and Prentis Rollins — is available in this new edition, complete with the preview story from Wizard Magazine as well as a number of extras previously only available in ABSOLUTE GREEN LANTERN: REBIRTH!

Hal Jordan was considered the greatest Green Lantern of them all. But Jordan lost control, allowed himself to be corrupted and transformed into the villainous Parallax. Later, Jordan reappeared and made the ultimate sacrifice — a sacrifice that allowed him to become the Spectre, the Wrath of God.

After several years of activity on Earth, The Spectre became restless and sought a way to prove himself worthy of that noble reputation. See how a man born without fear and seeking to rebuild his life, puts cosmic forces into motion that will have repercussions not only on Earth but across the universe.

This volume sets up the events of BLACKEST NIGHT and revitalized Green Lantern as one of the most important heroes of the DCU!

2. Locke & Key Volume 1: Welcome to Lovecraft by Joe Hill

21 Locke & Key Lovecraft Official URL | Goodreads | My Review

Locke & Key tells of Keyhouse, an unlikely New England mansion, with fantastic doors that transform all who dare to walk through them…. and home to a hate-filled and relentless creature that will not rest until it forces open the most terrible door of them all…

Acclaimed suspense novelist and New York Times best-selling author Joe Hill (Heart-Shaped Box) creates an all-new story of dark fantasy and wonder, with astounding artwork from Gabriel Rodriguez.

Locke & Key creator Hill has received the Bram Stoker Award for Best Fiction Collection, the British Fantasy Award for Best Collection and Best Short Story, and the Sydney J. Bounds Best Newcomer Award-2007, among his growing collection of critical accolades.

This collection of Locke & Key, in development as a major motion picture by Dimension Films, features an introduction by Robert Crais, author of the best-selling Elvis Cole novels.

3. Fables Volume 2: Animal Farm by Bill Willingham

11 Fables Animal Farm Official URL | Goodreads | My Review

Ever since they were driven from their homelands by the Adversary, the non-human Fables have been living on the Farm—a vast property in upstate New York that keeps them hidden from the prying eyes of the mundane world.

But now, after hundreds of years of isolation, the Farm is seething with revolution, fanned by the inflammatory rhetoric of Goldilocks and the Three Little Pigs. And when Snow White and her sister Rose Red stumble upon their plan to liberate the Homelands, the commissars of the Farm are ready to silence them—by any means necessary!

Collecting the second story arc of creator and writers Bill Willingham’s acclaimed series Fables, Animal Farm feature the stunning artwork of penciller Mark Buckingham and inker Steve Leialoha, and includes a special sketchbook section of preliminary artwork from Willingham, Buckingham, and cover artist James Jean.

4. G.I.Joe Volume 2 by Chuck Dixon

G.I.Joe Vol.2 IDW Official URL | Goodreads | My Review

Scarlett on trial!

Mainframe gone insane!

Snake Eyes on his own!

And Cobra revealed!

G.I. JOE squares off against COBRA, face-to-face and for the first time!

But the battle doesn’t go anything like what you think!

Follow Snake Eyes and Mainframe on their two-man crusade to prove COBRA’s existence as the G.I. JOEs are introduced to new team member Cover Girl and a whole new set of problems revolving around Destro and the Baroness. G.I. JOE’s first year concludes in this pulse-pounding climax that no action and adventure fan dare miss!

5. Birds of Prey v1 Volume 4: Sensei and Student by Gail Simone

05 Birds of Prey Sensei Student Official URL | Goodreads | My Review

There’s trouble brewing for the Birds!

Black Canary goes to China on a mission of mercy, and runs into the DC Universe’s most deadly combatant: Lady Shiva! Shiva is acting with a hidden agenda, making Canary an offer that could change the course of her life.

Meanwhile, Oracle’s life is tearing at the seams as the information she feeds out to aid her various heroes starts going strangely and dangerously awry! Not to mention Huntress stumbling upon some of her secrets!

This trade paperback collects issues #63-68 of Birds of Prey, featuring guest appearances by a host of DCU heroines and villainesses and marks Gail Simone’s second arc on the series.

6. Star Wars: Darth Vader and the Ghost Prison by Haden Blackman

Star Wars Ghost Prison Official URL | Goodreads | My Review

A traitorous uprising against the fledgling Galactic Empire leaves Emperor Palpatine close to death. Saving the Emperor—and the Empire—appears to be a lost cause . . . unless Vader can uncover the secrets of the Jedi Council and locate the mysterious “Ghost Prison.” Collects the five-issue miniseries.

* Written by The Force Unleashed’s Haden Blackman!

* A beautiful, fully painted graphic novel in hardcover with dust jacket!

Honourable Mentions -

1. Wolverine v1 Volume 1: The Brotherhood by Greg Rucka

34 Wolverine Vol. 1 Official URL | Goodreads | My Review

The world’s deadliest mutant Wolverine embarks on a dangerous mission of revenge, seeking justice for a young neighbor who was murdered in her sleep.

Logan must use all of his lethal skills to take on a mysterious organization hell-bent on keeping its dark secrets hidden from the world.

This trade paperback collects Wolverine vol. 3 #1-6, as writer Greg Rucka joins the series and gives both Logan and Wolverine a new origin and a new story.

2. New 52: Batgirl Volume 3: The Death of the Family by Gail Simone

Batgirl Volume 3 Not Final Official URL | Goodreads | My Review

Batgirl stars in these epics from #14-19 of her monthly series, plus BATMAN #17, BATGIRL ANNUAL #1 and a story from YOUNG ROMANCE #1, all spinning out of “Death of the Family.”

The Joker is back, and Barbara Gordon must confront her past as she deals with the crazed criminal responsible for crippling her.

Plus, once the dust settles, Barbara must deal with her family demons as her psychotic brother James Jr. comes after her.

Note: I’ve read this hardback as single issues this year and in its collected form this story arc will be released later this year in October alongside the normal trade paperback of Batgirl Volume 2: Knightfall Descends.

This is also not the final cover for the upcoming hardback.

3. Knightfall Volume 1: Broken Bat by Chuck Dixon and Doug Moench

Knightfall Vol1 Broken Bat Official URL | Goodreads | My Review

This riveting book sets Batman on a path that will change his life forever. A mass escape from Arkham Asylum and the emergence of Batman’s most threatening foe, Bane, sends Gotham City spinning into chaos and takes Batman to the limits of human endurance! These volume is required reading for every Batman fan. Graphic novel format.

Every Man Has a Breaking Point…

EVEN THE BATMAN!

The Dark Knight’s deadliest enemies have escaped Arkham Asylum! The Joker, Amygdala, the Mad Hatter, Poison Ivy, Zsasz, Killer Croc, the Firefly, the Riddler, the Ventriloquist and Scarecrow — one by one, he must face them all in mortal combat! But lurking at the end of this seemingly endless gauntlet is the deadliest menace of all — a mysterious man-mountain known only as…

BANE!

The first volume of the epic KNIGHTFALL story, this edition contains BATMAN 491-497 and DETECTIVE COMICS 659-663.

4. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Secret History of the Foot Clan by Mateus Santolouco

TMNT Foot Clan Official URL | Goodreads | My Review of #1-2

Demons, ninjas, and hostile takeovers–what more can you want from a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comic? Secret History of the Foot Clan collects the thrilling four-issue mini-series and reveals a story never told before about the original founder of the Foot.

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and the Foot Clan race to intercept the one man who may be able to uncover long-lost secrets of Shredder’s power!

In Feudal Japan, Oroku Saki’s friendship with Hamato Yoshi crumbles as Saki begins to fully comprehend his true destiny in the Foot Clan. Can his ambition be contained?

Join the Turtles as they get a history lesson that they will never forget!

5. Wonder Woman: Odyssey Volume 1 by J. Michael Straczynski

Wonder Woman Odyssey 01 Official URL | Goodreads | My Review

Due to mysterious circumstances, Diana must track down the truth behind what’s happened to her timeline and face the biggest stunner of all:

Who destroyed Paradise Island?

If you think you knew who Wonder Woman was – think again! All bets are off in this all-new direction for the long-running series that’s perfect for new readers as Wonder Woman embarks on an odyssey to find her past and gets a new costume, a new set of foes, and a new tone from the ground up!

This trade paperback collects issues #600-606 of WONDER WOMAN and marks the start of J. Michael Straczynski’s run on the series even as Wonder Woman gets a new costume and a new origin story.

6. Captain America: Winter Soldier Book 1 by Ed Brubaker

06 Captain America Winter Soldier Vol.1 Official URL | Goodreads | My Review

Cap is awakened in the dead of the night by agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., who need the kind of help only he can provide.

But the corpse he finds on the Heli-carrier brings him face-to-face with the unthinkable, and opens doors to terror and manipulation he never dreamed possible.

It’s a new beginning as four-time Eisner-nominated Best Writer Ed Brubaker makes his Marvel debut, joined by white-hot artist Steve Epting. As the new regular creative team, they will take Cap’s life in directions fans will never see coming.

This trade paperback collects Captain America volume 6 #1-7, and marks a brand new story arc in the First Avenger’s history.

*******

So that’s all I have for you all for now. The next part of this list will go up in the first week of January next year and will cover my top picks of novels, audios, and comics from July to December of 2013. Several of these picks are from my various reading challenges for 2013, and I love the fact that these publications have been as awesome as they have. Good stuff!

You can check out a similar list from fellow TFF reviewer Bane of Kings over at his blog here. He only has novels up for now, but plans to do a list for comics and TV series as well. Definitely worth checking out!

Posted on July 1, 2013, in 2013 Reading Challenge, Book Lists, Challenges and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 13 Comments.

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