Author Archives: AJ

Batman #30 (Comics Review)

With their first arc of Zero Year, Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo delivered something wonderful. With their second arc, it felt as if they had kind of lost their way a little bit since it felt less focused and less… immediate. While their entire run on Batman thus far has been nothing short of spectacular, with Zero Year they went big and delivered some amazing stories and dealt with some classic Batman villains. I loved the first arc, second arc not so much. But I remain a fan because Scott is usually a damn good writer and because Greg Capullo and Co. are all similarly amazing, usually.

With Batman #30 the creative team begins its third and final arc of Zero Year: Savage City. The Riddler is now in control of Gotham and things have changed big time. No more heroes. Gotham is an island, cut off from the rest of country and struggling to survive. This is the Gotham that Batman aka Bruce Wayne wakes up to after the disastrous events of the previous arc, and things are gonna get a whole lot worse before there is even a slimmer of hope that they will get better. And as always, the art is good, but it felt a bit too colourful and overdone in some places.

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Ms. Marvel #3 (Comics Review)

 If you’ve been wanting to read the adventures of a new superhero in a world filled with said hero’s idols and what not, then Ms. Marvel absolutely has to be the book you should be reading. If you want to read a book about a teenage superhero struggling with the first steps in a world of heroics and the resultant headaches, Ms. Marvel is the book for you. If you want to read a book about a female teen superhero, Ms. Marvel has to be your first stop. And if you want to read a book about a female teen superhero of colour AND a faith not Christian or atheist or whatever, then Ms. Marvel has to be at the top of you reading pile.

In their first two issues, the creative team of G. Willow Wilson, Adrian Alphona and Ian Herring have done something incredible. They’ve managed to write a female teen superhero, who is Muslim and the daughter of first-generation Pakistani immigrants, without any grandiosity or pomposity. This is a book that connects with the average reader and gives them something unique and yet familiar. The new issue, out yesterday, is the best issue yet and it solidifies what kind of a character Kamala Khan is going to be and how she is going to tackle her superhero identity of Ms. Marvel.

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Justice League #29 (Comics Review)

Not only was Geoff Johns’ Forever Evil inexplicably delayed till next month, but also Justice League, which skipped the entire month of March and is now the only original series from the launch of New 52 that is behind on its monthly schedule, best as I can tell. The entire event has been bombarded with delays of late, and these delays don’t help at all. This event was supposed to be wrapped up last month, but now is going to finish 2 months late. At least the previous issue of this series, Justice League #28, was a fairly good issue that explored the origins of the Metal Men and featured some good story with some good art.

Released today, Justice League #29 continues the tale of the Metal Men as Cyborg leads them into battle against Grid himself, the sentient super-virus that had infested his body since his creation and manifested itself at the end of the Trinity War event to side with the Crime Syndicate. The first half of the issue is all about the Metal Men and the second half is all about Cyborg taking the fight to Grid. Nothing spectacular this time around, but I liked the story well enough and as always Doug Mahnke. did a great job on the artwork.

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Comics Picks For 09.04.2014

Another great week this time. Lots of fun new tiles and old ones returning for new installments. The highlight of the week had to be the upcoming graphic novel by Paul Dini and Joe Quinones Jr. for which I managed to get a review copy. Long live NetGalley! And the graphic novel definitely delivered on its promise too, although there were a few things that I didn’t like so much.

With all the new series coming out, its definitely a good time to be in comics, and most of all if you have been a fan of certain series like Daredevil and Unity. I’m still behind on certain series though and there are a lot of comics that I am behind on, as I was painfully made aware this past week. And the pile is mounting every week. Just too many things to stay current with.

Anyway, here’s another edition of this new feature. Full reading list, as always, is available here and all my comics reviews are available here.

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Agents of SHIELD Season 1 Ep 18 (TV Show Review)

Last week we saw how Marvel’s latest cinematic release, Captain America 2: The Winter Soldier, affected the status of the characters on Agents of SHIELD. The movie initiated some very, very big changes and that in turn meant that the show has done a complete about turn. The tensions have ratcheted up significantly and loyalties have really been redefined. It goes without saying that some characters have turned out to be not who we believed they were, and that was kind of like a gut-punch in the last episode. Very surprising.

Since last week’s episode, I’ve read a fair few reactions to the episode and to the movie of course, and supposedly the showrunners have known from the start that this change would happen and that they constructed the show around that. Well, it certainly never felt like that, but as this episode shows, things have indeed been in development around it. This is an episode that has me really conflicted because I’m not sure whether or not I like it. It had some really good parts, but it also had parts that I’m not a hundred percent about.

Note: Because of the nature of this episode and its tie-in to the new movie, this review contains spoilers about what happens in this episode, the new Captain America movie and last week’s episode as well.

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Dick Grayson: Nightwing No More

Before we go any further, it is important to point out that this post will contain full spoilers about DC’s Forever Evil event, so if you have been tradewaiting on it, or waiting until all issues are out, or any such thing, then you might want to give this a pass. However, if you don’t mind spoilers and/or you already know what’s happened in the event so far with Dick Grayson aka Nightwing, then read on and find out! The announcement-context of this post is from this article that was put up on the USA Today site a couple days ago (spoiler warning!).

Before the New 52, I didn’t really have that much of an interest in Dick Grayson and his Nightwing persona. I knew of him through the Batman: The Animated Series cartoons but that’s really about it. But when I got back into comics in 2012, among the first books I started reading was Kyle Higgins and Eddy Barrows’ Nightwing. It proved to be a surprisingly awesome read and I’ve stuck with the title ever since. I’ve fallen off in recent times, mostly because my pull lists have gotten too big and I had to cut corners somewhere. But with this new announcement about Nightwing’s fate, I anticipate that I’ll be getting caught up with the main series in short order and then jump on board with Grayson #1 when it debuts later this year.

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Caliban #1 (Comics Review)

Space opera is one of my favourite genres of fiction to read. You give me something to read with spaceships and big battles and heroes and what not, I’ll gobble it up. Space opera horror though, that’s a different matter altogether. Very different. I haven’t tried much of it, very little in fact. At the moment, the only one that comes to mind right now is an audio drama by Steve Lyons for Warhammer 40,000: The Madness Within. Now that was a fun little thing although it wasn’t strictly space opera. Still. When faced with a book/comic in a genre I love you, I’m going to do my best to read it.

The week before last Avatar Press released the first issue of a new series by one of the most well-known writers in the business, Caliban #1 by Garth Ennis. And mainlining as the artist on this book is Facundo Percio, who is not someone that I am familiar with. Come to think of it, this just might be my first issue from Avatar Press too. And this first experience has definitely been a good one. The script takes a while to get going but when it does, it is superb. And the art in general is quite good too.

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Secret Avengers #2 (Comics Review)

Marvel began its relaunch of Secret Avengers on quite a high last month. While I didn’t read the previous series due to a lack of interest, I picked up the new #1 as part of my read-through of all the new series being launched as part of All-New Marvel NOW! Bringing together Hawkeye, Black Widow, Spider-Woman, Maria Hill, Modok, Nick Fury and Phil Coulson, this new series seems to be one of the most exciting of all those that Marvel has launched in the last three and a half months. The creative team and the cast are both solid, and that’s what I expected from the sequel issue.

Secret Avengers #2 picks right up from where the first issue left off and it includes some truly awesome moments that make you jump up and down with glee. You don’t really expect some kind of big flashy heroics from these guys, at least I don’t. I think of all of them as more subtle than that, much more… mature even. Writer Ales Kot wrapped up this short opening arc very well, giving a great taste of all the characters involved and the art team delivered on the goods as well.

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Game of Thrones Season 4 Ep 2 (TV Show Review)

 Season 4 of HBO’s television adaptation of George R. R. Martin’s epic (political) fantasy saga A Song of Ice and Fire began on an interesting note. The previous season had ended on a very grim note as yet another player in the War of the Five Kings was brutally murdered, and the reign of his family and its political prospects all came crashing down. Now, the Starks are no more and the Lannisters are preeminent since they have a King on the throne who is about to be married, they have a Master of the Coin and a King’s Hand of the family, and they are about to have their Regent-Queen married off as well to further secure their power. But that’s not all that’s happening in Westeros since there is still Stannis Baratheon and his armies, along with Houses Greyjoy and Bolton, and more players yet in the ultimate game of power.

Where the first episode of the new season was meant to touch base with many of these characters, the second episode this Sunday went further and turned out a pretty damn amazing story that saw an end to a character I’ve long hated. Very cathartic I tell you. At the same time, we finally touch base with what the Boltons are doing following their betrayals last season and what has become of their… prisoner. Plus we see Bran Stark and the Reeds again, in a rather scary sequence altogether. The new episode lacked some excitement in the first half, but the second half was pretty good, if strung out a little.

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Unity #5-6 (Comics Review)

Back in late February Valiant Comics wrapped up the first arc on its new series Unity. Bringing together some of its biggest characters, Valiant put out a very unconventional superhero team book that saw casualties from the get go and sought to redefine the characters involved, making them all part of a larger shared universe. Eternal Warrior, Ninjak, X-O Manowar, Livewire and Toyo Harada are characters who fluctuated a bit in how interesting and developed they were but liked them all I did, and I’ve stuck with the series since its first issue.

The new arc began last month and saw several important changes in how the “team” was structured. The characters involved, having gone through a crucible of sorts, are now in their restoration phase, slowly getting used to the change in status quo that has come about due to the first arc. But, things aren’t calm because there is another supervillain in the background, who is up to no small amount of mischief, and he is the one that the team has to take out this time. With a mostly good story and some decent art, the future of Unity looks very promising.

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Daredevil #1.50 (Comics Review)

It has been barely a year since I read my first Daredevil comic, the first arc of Mark Waid’s series on the title that recently ended and was relaunched for All-New Marvel NOW!. I read it for an online course on gender in comics that I did last year and it proved to be quite a bit of fun. I’m familiar with the character through some of his animated appearances, and the Ben Affleck-starrer movie of course, but I still don’t know a whole lot about him. He’s a very interesting character though, one of the very first disabled superhero characters I believe (I could be wrong on this), and that’s a big part of his charm as well.

Daredevil #1.50 is an anniversary issue commemorating 50 years of the Man Without Fear. It seems like a lot of characters are celebrating anniversaries recently, and just as with all the others, Marvel has done something special. Although this issue is extremely oddly numbered (in keeping up with Marvel’s trend of other such weird numberings of late), the stories inside are truly something else. The first one is a Matt Murdock of the future, another features Mike Murdock, and then we have a tease for the upcoming Elektra. The art in all of them is pretty damn good, and so are the stories.

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Gotrek & Felix: The Serpent Queen by Josh Reynolds (Book Review)

Last year in January we had the first Gotrek & Felix novel after a gap of several long years. The series started off as short stories by William King that were eventually collected into a novel and became a trilogy, then a double trilogy and so on. Eventually, when William King left, Nathan Long was brought in and he enjoyed a good long run as well. But then the series lapsed and all we had for a while were more short stories and even some novellas, although they were primarily written by a new incoming group of authors. It was good stuff. But what we really needed was a full novel, and that’s what Josh Reynolds’ Road of Skulls did.

The new Gotrek & Felix novels, whether those written by Josh Reynolds or David Guymer, are set out of continuity, which means that they are not part of the main series and are set somewhere in between those adventures already published. Road of Skulls, the first in his new set of novels, was an absolute fantastic read and reminded me of why I loved the series in the first place. And now we have the third novel, The Serpent Queen, and it is every bit as good. It features some more out-of-continuity adventures but sets them in the Southlands, in the homelands of the Lizardmen and we see a conflict between Tomb Kings and Vampires. Pretty superb right out of the gate.

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