Category Archives: Comics Reviews
This segment is proving to be quite interestingly popular in certain corners, and I still am taken with how it allows me to cover so many more comics than I would otherwise be able to. It is suitably time-intensive as well, which can sometimes wear on me when I have so much more to do, but not such a big deal. Plus, choosing which comic to feature here, while a challenge, is also quite a fun process in and of itself, so that’s something as well.
The picks for this week are: Brides of Helheim #3, Chastity #4-6, Dredd Uprise #2, Hexed #5, Spider-Verse Team-Up #2 and Prometheus: Fire and Stone #3-4. Lots of catch-up on the reviews this week, as you can see!
Jim Zub and Max Dunbar have kicked off IDW’s new Dungeons & Dragons series, Legends of Baldur’s Gate in great style recently, with a story that ties in to the setting’s newest lore-gaming expansion, Tyranny of Dragons. The first two issues have proven to be rather spectacular, focusing on characters old and new alike, and presenting readers with a pretty damn fantastic mystery as well, one that draws the characters into a much larger story than it at first apparent, and all I can say that it is a blast right now.
Legends of Baldur’s Gate #3, out last week,sees the characters take the next step in their search for Delina’s twin brother Deniak, who went missing in Baldur’s Gate some time back. With the help of the Beloved Ranger and social outcasts Krydle and Shandie, Delina has faced up to some interesting adventures of late, and the latest is a roof-top chase across the city that brings her face-to-face against someone she didn’t expect, even as the other characters face up to their own unique challenges and predicaments in a most fun way.
The previous issue of Arrow Season 2.5 was a pretty rough one for Oliver. It turned out that during his escape from the Church of Blood, the new Count Vertigo (played in the season 3 premiere by the amazing Peter Stormare) had dosed him with a dangerous hallucinagen and that made him fight his friends, and the memories of his family. As an exploration of Oliver’s damaged and tortured psyche, it was a fairly good installment and though it was a surprise to see Count Vertigo debut in the comic, it also made for a rather thrilling read toward the end so no complaints there.
In this week’s Arrow Season 2.5 #8, we see the consequences and lead-off from Oliver’s big fight against his memories and friends while dosed up on the drug from the new Count. It turns out actually that Sara is indeed in town on some assignment and she helps the team get back on its feet and beat-off the after-effects of a rather terrible night, a mission gone totally wrong. And on the other side, we have Waller continue to position her pieces with the Suicide Squad, preparing them to go to Kahndaq on a mission to kill a local warlord.
Valiant Comics currently possesses a great team superhero book in Matt Kindt’s ongoing Unity, which launched last year in the Fall and has since become one of my favourite comics across the board. In that title, we see various heroes come together to battle it out with an alien menace in the present timeline, and win through with some big handicaps along the way. The title has wavered a bit here and there at points, but the end result is that it is still a damn good book, one that I recommend fairly highly for all readers.
And this week the publisher launched The Valiant #1, which is the start of a new team superhero book, though along different lines and also focusing on slightly different characters, though there is indeed some overlap between the books in terms of the characters featured, such as Gilad Anni-Padda aka Eternal Warrior and Aric the Visigoth aka X-O Manowar. Jeff Lemire and Matt Kindt tell a riveting tale of Gilad’s past failures in this debut issue and artists Paolo and Joe Rivera do their utmost to make it a visual feast. Read the rest of this entry
After the end of a first arc involving an evil Genie released in Arcane Acre courtesy of the silly curiosity of Wulf and Hailey, last month writer Pat Shand kicked off a new arc, a 2-parter that delved into Hailey’s origins in Neverland and explored why and how she came to study at Arcane Acre with the new Realm Knights-in-training. It was a fairly good issue since while I’m familiar with most of the other characters, Hailey and Wulf are among those I know nothing about and the new arc helped me get familiar with them.
At the end of last month’s issue we saw that Sela managed to intervene on Neverland and get the kids back to Arcane Acre, all except Wulf who got left behind, through no fault of his or Sela’s or anyone else. Pat Shand picks up the story from the get go after that and launches straight into the action after that. This one is quite the action-packed issue, by a good margin, and we get to see Wulf become a badass hero, even as Hailey’s life is completely turned around once again. Pat Shand certainly doesn’t relent on the narrative front and Andrea Meloni’s art fares pretty well under the pressure too, not as much as I’d hoped for.
Top Cow has been running a Talent Hunt for two years running now, and this is the third year of them doing it yet again. They’ve found some really incredible creators in the last two years as a result of this search, as evidenced by the fact that the winners have had their stories and their art printed in Artifacts series, which kind of started off as a long-ish mini-series or such, but then went on to become a mammoth ongoing that has seen some big moments since Jackie Estacado and Sara Pezzini changed the whole world.
And now, this past week, we had The Magdalena: Seventh Sacrament #1, which is written and drawn by creators found during last year’s talent hunt, Tini Howard and Aileen Oracion. What this issue, which I think might be a one-off actually, does is explore the origins of the warriors known as The Magdalena, daughters of Christ who are chosen to become guardian angels over the Earth and fight the dark enemies of the Church everywhere. It is a fairly interesting story in most respects, with some good art, but it is also a bit too “freshman” at times, with some rather rough edges.
Last month Ron Marz and Abhishek Malsuni breathed some new life into Dynamite Entertainment’s John Carter franchise with the release of their John Carter: Warlord of Mars #1 which is the first new comic to come out in the post-settlement era (between the ERB estate and Dynamite). And it was a pretty awesome start to the series, packed with all the action and character I could have asked for, especially with the establishment of a new villain for John Carter to eventually face off against.
This week’s John Carter: Warlord of Marz #2 continues the story of a Barsoom under siege by an alien species led by an Earther, Captain Joshua Clark who fancies himself as a nemesis to John Carter, having fought opposite him during the Civil War back in America. Ron Marz starts off the new issue on a very strong note, by showing John facing off against a White Ape of Mars, and continues in the same vein as we get even more character development with the cast, and as Abhishek Malsuni continues to impress with is energy-packed visuals which really capture the wild and ferocious nature of life on the Red Planet.
Recently, there have been signs on IDW’s Samurai Jack that Jim Zub and Andy Suriano’s current arc, The Quest of the Broken Blade, has been moving towards a big, epic showdown. In a story that saw Jack’s trusty blade broken during a powerful ritual to send him back to his own time, we have seen Jack being a hero, being a desperate refugee, and having his worthiness in being the keeper of an ancient sword tested by some truly god-like cosmic beings. With each issue of the arc, I’ve been more and more impressed by the team, and the last issue ended on a pretty big cliffhanger.
The way I read it, Samurai Jack #15 is the end of the current arc, and it is an explosive showdown all the way. Just 2 weeks ago, in Samurai Jack #14, we saw that three cosmic deities tested Jack’s devotion to his beliefs, and his worthiness of being a warrior of the light. And just as the test was drawing to a close, Aku found the hero, setting up a huge confrontation. Now, we see how this big battle plays out as Jack proves himself yet again, proves that he is indeed a worthy successor to his father, who possessed that self-same sword before him. Both Jim’s writing and Andy’s art is incredible here in a way that I have not yet seen on the series before.
A couple weeks back the awesome writing/artist team of Corinna Bechko and Gabriel Hardman came together to do the current three-part arc on Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman. After somewhat of a glut of good stories on the title, the pair told a really fun story that had Diana travel to Apokolips to exfiltrate two Amazons who had gone missing on a mission to the death world. Corinna and Gabriel are among two of my favourite creators and to see them do a Wonder Woman story proved to be as exciting and satisfying as I expected, probably a bit more too.
In the first issue of the arc, we saw Diana travel to Apokolips, face off against some of Darkseid’s Furies, lose, and then get tossed into the inner fires of the death world. In issues #17 and #18, we see how she gets out of that particular mess, and how she ends up completing the mission, with a fair few complications and twists involved along the way. With these two issues, Corinna and Gabriel bring their three-parter to a close, and they do it in really great style, showing off how Darkseid and Diana interact in particular and what this can mean for the “relationship” between Apokolips and Themiscyra, moving forward.
I ended up skipping last week’s Fast-Shot article since I was rather busy with real-life stuff and just did not have the time for doing it. But I stand by what I said in the previous two articles, that these reviews are a great way to work through the back-log and they let me do lots of different types of comics together in a single place. The last two reviews I’ve done for this new feature have both been pretty good ones in terms of that, and they’ve also been fairly popular, which is quite heartening to see. So, on to the reviews!
The picks for this week are: Dredd Uprise #1, Angela: Asgard’s Assassin #1, Batman: Eternal #35, Future’s End #31, Swamp Thing #35-37, and Rai #5. Another diverse line-up of titles, as always Of these, Dredd Uprise #1 is from more than a month ago I believe, one of the many comics I didn’t get around to in October, unfortunately, while Angela: Asgard’s Assassin is a new title, and Rai is returning after a significant layover, and proves to be even better with the new issue than the previous four, by a considerable margin. And with the DC titles, well, they all proved to be a very interesting lot.
The 2004 reboot of Battlestar Galactica stands as one of my all-time favourite space opera television to date, alongside some fine company as Star Trek: The Next Generation, Andromeda, Firefly, Stargate: Atlantis and others. It was a gritty and realistic show that was rooted in a more modern age and had a long, years-spanning story where the characters interacted in some really interesting ways, and the big reveals always came like loud hammerfalls. The old 1970s original however is not something I’m familiar with, something that I’ve been wanting to correct for a while now.
Battlestar Galactica: Death of Apollo #1 is rooted in the original show’s continuity and continues the Galactica’s long search for the 13th Colony, Earth. This debut issue of the new series deals with Viper pilots Starbuck and Apollo, close friends and even closer comrades, among the best that the Galactica has to offer, and the story woven by Dan Abnett is rather compelling in its simplicity and its straightforwardedness without coming across as an obvious cash-grab as the title would seem to suggest. And the artwork by Dietrich Smith and Fran Gamboa deserves a ton of praise as well.
One of DC’s latest series, Gotham Academy has had a pretty good and strong start with its first two issues. The series has introduced us to lots of new readers, almost all of them high-school aged, and the unrepentant fun of the series has definitely pulled me in hook, line and sinker. Olive Silverlock and her friends and frenemies have provided lots of mysteries to sink my teeth into and the whole story developing around these characters is something that I find very compelling, especially since the story itself is of a very personal nature.
In this past week’s Gotham Academy #3, we see a bit more of the larger story as Olive and Pomeline finally hash out their differences and agree to team-up, for now. That creates an interesting mechanic between Olive and the school bully, which I find really compelling and this issue is also largely about Olive basically cutting deals with people she doesn’t really get around with. Which is great. And the art? The art is superb and spectacular as always. I can’t get over the art, ever. There’s so much damn vitality to it!