Author Archives: AJ
With the advent of the Original Sin crossover event earlier this year, Marvel set itself up for some big changes in October. The most startling change was that Thor Odinson was deemed to no longer be worthy of the great hammer Mjolnir. This storyline was introduced in Original Sin #3 where the dead Watcher Uatu’s mutilated eye (one of them) caused a psychic bomb that made the gathered heroes and villains aware of some of the deepest secrets of their lives. The storyline then culminated in Original Sin #7 where Nick Fury whispered something to Thor that caused the God of Thunder to suddenly become unworthy of Mjolnir, utterly breaking him.
Today’s Thor #1 sees the continuation of that last point. At the end of Original Sin: Thor & Loki: The Tenth Realm, Odin the All-Father returned to Asgardia and now the entire court of Asgard gathers on the Moon to watch as a broken Thor continues to whisper to Mjolnir, asking it for some kind of redemption and reaffirmation. And in the meantime, Malekith the Accursed leads a raid of Frost Giants on Midgard, seeking something they value, and the stage is set for the introduction of a new Thor, a woman this time. Jason Aaron’s writing is mostly on point here, but it is the art by Russell Dauterman & Co. that really shines here.
October is going to be a really huge month this year. Aside from all the new comics that DC is launching this month, there are also big status quo changes in various books, such as over in Batgirl where there is a new creative team and a brand-new arc that is almost like a soft reboot of the title. Back around in June/July, DC announced a bunch of new titles when the details of Future’s End month were finally revealed, and one of the interesting changes to the publisher’s line-up was the YA-oriented title Gotham Academy, a title that I initially had no interest in.
Released today, Gotham Academy #1 explores the life of academy-girl Olive as a new school year starts and she gets to meet with her ex-boyfriend’s younger sister who is just starting her first year, and we also get introduced to lots of mysteries and thrills. Formerly an artist all the way, Becky Cloonan has teamed up with Brenden Fletcher for writing credits on this title, with Karl Kerschl doing the artwork. As a fresh new series, Gotham Academy holds a ton of promises and the YA-orientation of it is also something that is nice to see among a line of books that are 99.99% grimdark/adult-oriented.
Lightning strikes in the same place for a third time. I mentioned last week that I read 38 singles and 2 graphic novels for that release week, and that holds true for this week as well. I had a chance to read a bit more, but I chose to use that time to get done with some of my novel reading and also catch up with some of my reviews. 15 titles out of 40 read were reviewed by me this week. I feel good!
The surprise hits of this week were Aliens: Fire and Stone #1 and Prometheus: Fire and Stone #1, both from Dark Horse Comics, Pathfinder: City of Secrets #5 from Dynamite Entertainment, Catwoman: Future’s End #1 from DC Comics, Hack-Slash: Son of Samhain #2 and Chew Volume 1 both from Image Comics. Comics which disappointed me this week were Edge of Spider-Verse #3 from Marvel Comics, Sensation Comics #7 from DC Comics, and… that’s it thankfully! The graphic novels of this week were Chew Volume 1 and Thor: God of Thunder Volume 3.
After half-frustrating/half-exciting first season, ABC’s Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD returned with a second season last week and the premiere established a strong sense of improvement and progression in the meta-story. Now that there aren’t any more Marvel movies scheduled till the middle of next year (there’ll be 2, maybe 3 episodes after the release of Avengers: Age of Ultron), and the big reveal has been had, the show can boldly move forward and go places it was meant to go in the first place. And with new cast members, the show was also looking great with potential, which is to be expected when you have Lucy Lawless on a show, any show.
This week’s episode sees the return of an old enemy of Team Coulson, someone they’ve run into before several times and who has caused the team a lot of grief as well. While this enemy weaves a new web around Coulson and the others, we also get to see them go up against Carl Creel aka the Absorbing Man a second time and come out on top finally. This week’s episode featured some great action, some great stuff with Glenn Talbot and also lots of mysteries. However, if there is one thing that has bothered me this week, it is the fate of Isabelle Hartley, the new character played by Lucy Lawless.
NBC’s The Blacklist kicked off its second season last week on a very good note. With the introduction of the Berlin plotline last year, the show gained on a very personal, very emotional aspect that came to the fore by the end of the season when we learned that Berlin wanted Red because Red had had his daughter killed. And in last week’s season two premiere we saw that Berlin upped the stakes of his mission for revenge by kidnapping Red’s estranged wife. The character interactions and the tone of the new season were all pretty damn strong and this week’s follow-up episode builds on all of that.
The promos at the end of the first episode promised a meeting between Red and Berlin in this week’s episode. That was pretty mind-blowing in itself and something to really look forward to this week. In a game of cat-and-mouse that has all been about leverage from day one, Red gains the upper hand on Berlin this week, despite the fact that the latter is holding Red’s wife hostage and is breaking her apart piece by piece (a finger last episode, a tooth this episode). And in the midst of all this are Elizabeth and Donald, trying to keep ahead of the game of deception that Red is playing with everybody. And as a friend said, this week’s episode floored me.
Sleepy Hollow‘s season 2 debuted last week with a solid season premiere that promised lots of different things. With Abby stuck in Purgatory, Ichabod buried alive in a coffin, Katrina in Abraham’s custody, Irving arrested and Jenny in a car crash, things looked pretty bleak, but the characters managed to bounce back handsomely enough that they are still a major threat to Moloch and his minions. Many of the plot-threads from the previous season’s finale were continued on and it ended on a great note, setting a great tone for the second season.
This week’s episode, “The Kindred“, does something that we haven’t seen on the show yet. We get some more on Benjamin Franklin this time around, and see how contingency plans to fight the Headless Horseman were being put together two hundred years back. Some of it comes to bloom in this episode in the form of the Kindred, and I think that Team Sleepy Hollow just got a huge boost in firepower, and with the increased activity from Henry, Abraham and their master Moloch, the team is going to need everything that they can get, even as they get taken out one by one, or so it seems.
Joining Marvel’s line-up of female-led titles this year was July’s Storm #1, which featured one of the most iconic members of the X-Men, Ororo Munroe aka Storm. The first issue was something quite wonderful since Greg Pak got the character down perfectly, almost, and the same can be said of Victor Ibanez’s art as well. The title is also very different to every other female-led title from Marvel this year and it also plays into a larger team dynamic with the X-Men themselves, so that’s another reason to get along with this title and see where things go from there.
In Storm #2, Greg takes the readers down into New York’s abandoned subway tunnels and has Storm go up against an old enemy, Callisto, for a rematch that shocks Storm and really makes her reassess her priorities and her heroics. Over in Storm #3 however, Greg Pak has the Goddess flit over to Kenya where she has been invited to help with the water shortages in the country and is just another example of Greg developing the character through her past experiences, grounding her, so to speak. There are two separate art teams in both issues, and despite some minor negatives, they make both issues two of the best comics you can read this year.
Last week Fox debuted Gotham, a gritty noir-ish procedural set in the years before Bruce Wayne became the vigilante known as Batman, back when Carmine Falcone still ran the city’s mobs and when both Harvey Bullock and James Gordon were still young. The series premiere was a very entertaining and exciting experience, better than I’d expected it to be and it certainly made me want to come back for more, if only because I wanted to see more of certain characters and because the setup came off as fairly well-executed for a show like this.
This week’s episode, titled “Selina Kyle” was meant to focus on the future Catwoman. In the premiere, we saw that she was a witness to the murder of Thomas and Martha Wayne, thus creating an ephemeral bond between her and Bruce and at the end we saw that she came to Wayne Manor for… something. I was kind of excited for this week’s episode because I wanted to see how executive producer and series writer Bruno Heller would deal with the future master thief. And I’m disappointed on that front. The episode is more caught up with the ensemble cast than focusing on Selina, but at least it presents some really fun and quirky villains while also developing the overall story of the show.
New York Comic Con is an event that I’ve been wanting to attend for the last two years, but haven’t been able to find an opportunity until now. There’s always something that comes up and throws a kink in the plans. From all I’ve heard, it is also a much better con-experience than San Diego Comic Con since it is much more focused on comics, unlike its bigger cousin which has become dominated in recent times by genre television shows and by Hollywood. Besides, SDCC is a much tougher Con to get into in the first place, which is why I’d love to attend NYCC more than anything else.
Living the Con experience through news that filters out of it and about it, IDW Publishing yesterday released info on its Con exclusives. In recent years Con exclusives have become a bigger and bigger thing, especially at the larger Cons so that the publishers are able to attract more foot-traffic and what not. Te exclusives run the gamut of everything, and IDW is also offering some really cool and awesome covers as well, and I like the look of them If I could, I would totally get some of them. Anyway, here’s what’s IDW offering this year at New York Comic Con 2014.
This past week DC’s month-long Future’s End came to a close and it was certainly an eclectic mix of titles, from all that I’ve read so far. But there were indeed some titles that I enjoyed this week, and as I continue my readings this week, for I still have quite a few titles to get through overall, I’m expecting more to pop up. In the Green Lantern and Super-family titles I’ve had to face quite a bit of disappointment in particular, with little that has been good, and going into the final week, with the pending release of the Sinestro and Superman one-shots, I was holding up to some expectations.
Thankfully I wasn’t disappointed too much as it turns out. Sinestro: Future’s End #1 by Cullen Bunn is easily one of the best titles that I’ve seen this month, while Superman: Future’s End #1 by Dan Jurgens is mostly good though there were some problematic things in it. In a strange bit of contrast, Sinestro isn’t a series that I’ve kept up with lately, though I really liked the first couple issues, whereas with Superman‘s reboot under Geoff Johns I’ve been having a ton of fun on the title. Sadly, Geoff didn’t write this month’s one-shot but Dan does a decent enough job and since it ties in directly to Future’s End, it is a much stronger story than it appears to be.
Thanks to Zenescope’s massive Age of Darkness crossover event that has been running since late last year, I came to know about their Robyn Hood comics, which feature Robyn Locksley as the publisher’s take on the Robin Hood tales. All the Robyn Hood comics I’ve read to date have been quite fun to read and in the Age of Darkness event I think that she has really come into her own, especially in the current Realm War: Age of Darkness series which is positioning her as a major villain. In the wake of the landmark Grimm Fairy Tales #100 issue, one of the new series launched by Zenescope is a Robyn Hood ongoing, something I’ve been wanting to see for a while now.
Before the advent of the new Robyn Hood ongoing, the character featured only in three 5-issue mini-series and a small handful of one-shots or ensemble offerings here and there. But now she has her own title and it really couldn’t be coming at a better time for her. Pat Shand guides the character in a post-Age of Darkness world where Robyn has taken on a vigilante aspect along with her friend Marian, where they’ve started working out as private investigators specializing in the mystical. It is kind of like how Angel did things in Joss Whedon’s Angel. It is fun, it is quirky, and Robyn and Marian are both awesomely kickass.
The Hunger Games is one of the series I wanted to read in 2013 as part of my “25 Series To Read In 2013” reading challenge. Having seen and loved the movie adaptation of the first novel in the series, and waiting with high anticipation for the second movie, this was a series I was really looking forward to reading eventually last year. And read it I did. One of the great things about it was how it added more to my movie experience than I’d thought, helping contextualize a lot of the scenes. And that I suppose, is the true strength of the combined experience.
This review is a repost of the original review on The Founding Fields, which can be found here.