Author Archives: AJ
Once Disney’s acquisition of Lucasfilm and the rights to pretty much all future Star Wars movies and cartoons and comics and what not was finalized last year and news began filtering in of all the new things being planned, one of the ones to come out was that the House of Mouse was going to deliver on a new Star Wars animated series set in the period between Revenge of The Sith and A New Hope. The first trailer released was somewhat decent, though problematic, but I was kind of excited that a different period was being considered for the format, given that most of the previous work was so focused on the Clone Wars themselves.
And this past week at San Diego Comic Con 2014, Disney released a new trailer that also contains some extensive footage of the animated series, and this is kind of where I am beginning to lose some interest because the story appears to be rather haphazard and the characters appear to be cliches in the way that only Disney can do, though sometimes to great net-positive effect, and the animation doesn’t really work so well for me either, especially not after having seen three excellent seasons of The Clone Wars (it rain for a total five seasons!) and other previous Star Wars animated work, from what I remember.
Christos Gage and Rebekah Isaacs launched the tenth season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer in great fashion some five months ago, and they’ve made this book into one of my top favourites of the year, something that I can depend on being super-good month after month. As I’ve said before, I got introduced to this due through their work on Angel & Faith Season 9 and they’ve brought the same awesomeness to this title. Reliving the adventures of this entire group through this new lens of comics is an incredible experience and the best things about it all remain the best still.
In last month’s Buffy #4, we saw that Dracula, out of his own hubris and inconsiderate manipulation of Xander, had begun to turn into the demon Maloker, the demonic father of all Vampires. In the midst of all the great character interactions, Christos Gage told a really involved story about friendships, love, betrayal, infatuation and manipulation, and he continues all of that in last week’s Buffy #5 as the first arc of the new season draws to a close. Not to be outdone, Rebekah also turns in some fantastic artwork coupled with brilliant colours from Dan Jackson.
After a slight bump here and there, Gail Simone and Nicolás Daniel Selma’s Tomb Raider has really gotten off to a great run in the last couple months. So much so that it is finally the kind of Tomb Raider comic I’ve been wanting to read from the two of them, ever since the announcement last year. Gail has done a great job thus far of shepherding the character through her post-game events, and she has turned Lara into a most interesting character, someone who is both strong and fragile in equal measure. Someone who feels complete because of that contradiction.
With her recent return to Yamatai, Lara ran into the bad guys real soon and started to discover just how twisted and demented the new villain is. But what all we saw in Tomb Raider #5 was just the tip of the iceberg, for Gail commits herself fully to the madness of her villain and to showcase the best of Lara and her friends as well. That’s where this issue really won me over, that it wasn’t just Lara being awesome, but her supporting cast as well. And Nicolás is finally comfortable with the characters, and has a much more consistent style, so that was most welcoming too.
In recent years, IDW Publishing has stepped up with its full force to present some of the best television tie-in comics out there. Dark Horse has been the top-dog in that niche for a good long while, but IDW has focused on altogether different things, and has proved its mettle. Animated series like Samurai Jack and My Little Pony or live-action tie-ins like True Blood and Star Trek have proven that IDW has got what it takes, and with the onset of San Diego Comic Con this week, it was a surety that IDW would announce some new titles, and that it would all be exciting to say the least.
The latest scoop is that IDW is going to start publishing Orphan Black comics as soon as early spring next year, hopefully in the first few months itself. I’ve just recently started watching the show myself, and I’ve grown to love it despite an initial hurdle. Tatiana Maslany has been fantastic on the show, what little I’ve seen of it, and the scripts are wonderfully complex and linear at the same time, so that provides a nice overall experience. In fact, if you are not watching the show, then I would certainly recommend it. A contemporary sci-fi show headlined by a woman in multiple roles and that has just been renewed for a third season!
Over the years, Ororo Munroe aka Storm has become one of the most prominent of the X-Men, particularly since starring in the X-Men movie franchise and played by Halle Berry (questionable performances, but more to do with the writing). With the launch of Brian Wood’s X-Men comic last year that saw her take a more prominent role in the comics-verse, a lot of people in the fandoms seemingly expected to see a Storm comics series soon. And lo behold, their prayers were answered earlier this year when Marvel confirmed a Storm ongoing, which came out yesterday.
Written by Greg Pak and drawn by Victor Ibanez, Storm #1 falls in the realm of one of the better new titles that Marvel has launched this year. Greg Pak captures the awesomeness of Storm very well in this debut issue though sometimes the monologue got a bit too weird for me. Victor Ibanez on the other hand draws a really good Storm in this issue, and you can really feel her personality coming through the pages. Far better than I expected, Storm #1 has got me really excited for the series now, and I’m hoping that the second issue arrives very soon!
Of late, the action in Future’s End has really been ramping up to something epic. With all the different plotlines going on, it was inevitable that many of them would intersect with each other in quite interesting ways, and that is exactly what has been happening. Thing is, despite the apparent lack of general popularity in the title as far as the blogosphere is concerned, the title still appears to be going strong and week after week I can see why. It has some of DC’s top writing and top art at the moment and that has value, even if a lot of it is just the house style..
The epic went into overdrive in this week’s Future’s End #12. First we had this big fight scene with Amethyst, Frankenstein and Hawkman, with a decidedly major cliffhanger. Then the King Faraday and Voodoo plotlines intersected something fierce and I’m left wondering if the character of “Courtney” is who I think it is. Then the plotline with a villain named Ethan got super-interesting, considering how he was broken out of prison recently and after that we got the most magnificent cliffhanger ending ever in comics, as we got taken back to the future that Terry McGinnis is trying to prevent in the past.
A few days ago I did my best of 2014 list for the novels I have read in the first half of this year. That list followed the same format that I have been using for 2 years now, but with this new list I decided to make a big departure, owing to how many comics I’ve been reading in recent months, often 80+ comics in a single month! That’s crazy.
So, with the books already having been covered, I now delve into my favourite monthly comics of the year. The next post will be at the end of the year for the second half of the year.
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!
Aliens and superheroes is a concept that mixes really well, as some 75 years of comics from the Big 2 has proven. Superhero comics today form the biggest share of the market and with good reason, they are the staple of the form after all. Occasionally creators go the full distance with this, as Valiant Comics has done in recent weeks with its Armor Hunters series, tying together its X-O Manowar and Unity titles, at the least. It has proven to be a good time for Unity in particular, a series that started last year, and with Matt Kindt’s writing and Steven Segovia’s art the overall experience has never been better.
While Armor Hunters deals with all the big moments, Unity has been dealing more with the little things that inform those big moments. This past week’s Unity #9 is proof of that for it doesn’t move along the Armor Hunters story forward but instead has Livewire question her origins, show Ninjak and Eternal Warrior getting their violence gig on in London, and MI-6’s top coordinator Mr. Alcott get ever more frustrated with current events. With all the little moments, Matt Kindt is at his best here, and the same can be said for Steven Segovia and Co. where the art is concerned.
In the last four months Ales Kot and Michael Walsh have dazzled me with their take on this secret group of Avengers working for SHIELD. Hawkeye, Black Widow, Spider-Woman, Nick Fury Jr., Phil Coulson and Maria Hill have been stunning almost every step of the way and this has certainly been one of the most impressive of the new titles launched by Marvel this year for its All-New Marvel NOW! initiative, marking the second major launch of its titles since late 2012. The four issues thus far have been impressive sure, but I think we are entering an all-new phase that is even better..
This past week’s Secret Avengers #5 deepens the character mysteries and really tones down all the action so that the plot moves along in a very different manner. It is given however that when Maria Hill and Nick Fury Jr, are involved, especially a straight-and-narrow guy like Coulson, there is going to be a lot of friction between them over all the secrets being kept, and the biggest secret on this team is that Modok is working for SHIELD! Ales Kot, Michael Walsh, Matthew Wilson and Tradd Moore are at their best in this issue and they deliver on the goods in a handsome manner.
Tom Cruise is no stranger to action movies, and certainly not to science-fiction action movies, having done quite a few of them in his time, the latest up until a few weeks back being Oblivion, which was… tedious. I certainly didn’t like it, but Tom Cruise is a fairly decent actor, so he kind of gets a pass on that. When Edge of Tomorrow was announced last year, I was actually quite excited about it, especially since the trailer portrayed actress Emily Blunt in such a positive light, but I was wary of Cruise’s SF action after Oblivion and so when the movie came out, I was wary of all the hype it was getting.
I suppose that, in retrospect, I really should have had more faith in both Emily Blunt and Tom Cruise, and certainly in a military SF movie like Edge of Tomorrow. Thing is, I went in with somewhat low expectations that were tempered by all the positive buzz I heard about the movie post-released, so I suppose that I was somewhat hyped for it, going in. And it proved to be really good. I enjoyed both Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt in it, with great cameos by Bill Paxton and Brendan Gleeson. The premise itself is a bit thin on the ground, but the execution is pretty damn good and visually the movie is excellent as well.
Launched last year, Harley Quinn by Jimmy Palmiotti, Amanda Conner and Chad Hardin has pretty much taken the market by storm. The first few issues were all chart-toppers and the series has continued a good sales run without any signs of serious flagging. I’ve loved and disliked the series in equal measure for while the story has mostly been good, the art has been less so, but that kind of fluctuates as well. Still, I won’t deny that Harley Quinn has been a most fun book indeed and that the fact it has managed to steer clear of any other book/event/crossover has been rather impressive.
When DC announced plans for Harley Quinn Invades Comic-Con #1, I got really excited. Can you just imagine the sheer fun of such a title? The promise of lots of crazy antics, lots of surprises, lots of fourth-wall breaking, it is all there in this title. And when I read it last week, this title delivered on every bit of them. From the group of Joker cosplayers to Harley Quinn cosplayers, from Dan Didio and Geoff Johns and Stephen Amell cameos to Harley Quinn going to Jim Lee for an artist portfolio review, this issue was all-out fun. The art was a bit iffy and slightly inconsistent, but I’ll give that a pass.