Category Archives: General
After all the build-up in the previous issues of Justice League Dark and The Phantom Stranger, writer J. M. DeMatteis gets things into gear finally with this week’s issue of the latter series. We’ve seen how the manifestation of pure evil that crossed over from Earth 3 to Earth 1 with the Crime Syndicate has begun to effect the supernatural-oriented heroes of the DC Universe and we’ve seen how Constantine and his allies have tried to take the fight to this manifestation, Blight, and failed. Now, Constantine has rebounded from that defeat by doing the impossible: bringing the Trinity of Sin to his doorstep in chains in order to solicit their help, essentially at the point of a gun.
Ever since DeMatteis took over on the series he has been turning out one great issue after another and this new issue follows that trend. It is moody, it has character drama, it has tension, it has action. Its got everything, in short, and DeMatteis has been incredibly consistent with his writing along with Fernando Blanco and Brad Anderson on the artwork. Issue #14 is where the status quo for all these characters really shifts and where a new (temporary) Justice League Dark is born.
As the larger cosmic event Infinity begins winding down, so do the various tie-ins and current arcs going on in the related books. Mighty Avengers, a book which launched in synchronicity with the event in September, ended its first arc this week, and it has been doing quite decently from what I’ve heard of the sales for the first two issues. Of course, there’s also the matter of the exact make-up of the team, which has generated no small amount of buzz itself.
This is a book that showcases the minority characters, and characters that are seemingly overlooked by the rest of the Marvel universe considering that most of the books the publisher is putting out right now are X-Men books with largely similar teams, and Avengers books that are all about the high-profile heroes. Al Ewing has done great in bringing together all these characters and telling a really fun story involving them, partnered up with some decent artwork,
When I last checked in with this series, which was back in August with the third issue, the title was just about getting its legs and giving me enough to impress. The first two issues lacked the distinct firecracker vibe that has characterised Scott’s Batman or even his The Wake, and so they were a bit disappointing. But the third issue was fantastic and I really enjoyed it. So much so that I felt this could be an extremely promising series with future issues.
And I certainly wasn’t disappointed at all. The new issue, which was meant to come out last week but was inexplicably delayed till this week, built wonderfully on everything that Scott and artist Jim Lee have done till now to give an issue that is super-fantastic. And a lot of this has to do with how the two of them have portrayed Lex Luthor in this issue, and the big reveals about the global techno-terrorist group known as Ascension that has been harrying the Big Blue for a while now.
Over the years, Batman has had several sidekicks, three of them being Robins, and a Batgirl. At least, that’s what I knew until I began reading the New 52 branded comics. And suddenly, as I started to read more comics and read the wiki-lore, I understood that Batman even had a son, and that there have been two more Batgirls and even a Robin in the far future when Bruce is all old and retired. The one thing that really stuck out at me was that Batman had a son, Damian, from Ra’s al Ghul’s daughter Talia.
Despite my interest in the character I didn’t really read any of the comics related to him, except for the first volume of Peter J. Tomasi’s Batman and Robin for the New 52, which I found to be mediocre at best. Damian just didn’t work for me as a character.
Earlier this year, Damian was killed off in the pages of Batman, Inc which was written by Grant Morrison, the man who had created the character several years ago. In the midst of all the hype surrounding the death, DC announced a 4-issue “what if?” mini-series that would bring the character back. I was mildly interested. After reading it, I’m just completely disappointed.
Note: This contains some spoilers about the issue.
Earlier this month, writer Mike Costa began a 3-part crossover story that focused on some of Marvel’s premier heroes, the young X-Men of the past from All-New X-Men, Bruce Banner/Hulk from Indestructible Hulk and Otto Octavius/Spider-Man from Superior Spider-Man. This was a story that brought together a very informal team to deal with a very specific, and quite incidental threat, and thus far, the highlight of the crossover was in the interactions between the characters and the light-hearted charm that Mike brought.
Concluding in this week’s Superior Spider-Man Team-Up Special #1, the crossover continues to highlight the fact that what Mike was trying to do here was all about the characters. These are guest issues by him since he’s not working on any of the three titles, and I think it creates a nice way of getting onboard with these characters since you don’t really need to know much about them, other than the broad general stuff, particularly in the case of Otto Octavius being the Superior Spider-Man.
Justice League Dark is a title that I had no interest in until quite recently, when DC announced its Trinity War event. I was already reading the other two JL titles and since this was going to be a short event, I was really enthused about finally picking up the the third title as well, just so I was current on all the characters and what brought the JLD team together. It proved to be a somewhat mixed experience, given all the creative changes on the book, but Trinity War proved to be rather excellent.
With that event ended, we are now in the Forever Evil phase and we finally get an issue with the characters of the book in focus. Or rather one of them that is, John Constantine, confidence man and magician extraordinaire. And that’s not all of course, since with this issue the fourth Forever Evil tie-in begins, Blight, and this one doesn’t have its own mini-series, but is a large tale across four different titles. So this issue had a lot to live up to with new writer J. M. DeMatteis, and delivers aplenty.
If, like me, you grew up in the heyday of Cartoon Network programming of the late 90s and early 2000s, then you are well familiar with the Samurai Jack animated series, created by Genndy Tartakovsky. The series ran from 2001-2004 to great acclaim and it is one of the very few CN series that I remember very fondly. It was, perhaps, one of the darkest cartoons I’d ever watched, but it was told in a way that the grim and gritty really balanced out with all the excellent humour.
Recently, IDW announced an ongoing comic series for Samurai Jack, bringing the character back after nearly a decade since the original days. I could not have been more excited. The first issue launches tomorrow, and to celebrate, IDW has commissioned no less than 10 covers for it! Its amazing to see the kind of passion that the publisher is putting into this project, and having just read the first issue, I will say that they are off to a fantastic start.
When I got back into comics last year, Matt Forbeck’s Magic the Gathering #1 was among the very first I read, thanks to a review copy I got from IDW Publishing through NetGalley. I really liked it, and then went on to read many more IDW comics. I’ve read pretty much all of Matt Forbeck’s work on this series, except for the last two issues of the third arc. Put out as three four-issue mini-series, these comics have been among the best I’ve read to date, thanks to the excellent writing, and the excellent artwork by Martin Coccolo.
Recently IDW announced a new ongoing series for planeswalker Dack Fayden, the star of Matt’s Magic comics, and it got me really excited. I was slightly bummed that Matt wasn’t going to be working on the series, but I was excited all the same. I enjoyed reading Dack’s previous adventures and I hoped for the same from new writer Jason Ciaramella as well. And he does deliver.
As I’ve said before elsewhere, Vertigo Comics puts out some of the best stuff in the industry and their biggest selling point is how diverse each title, how different it is to the next. Vertigo’s various settings all have a different vibe, different feel to them, as you can see from Jeff Lemire’s Trillium or Scott Snyder and Sean Murphy’s The Wake or Bill WIllingham’s Fables. These are very much non-traditional comics and they are executed brilliantly.
Joining this stellar line-up is the latest by Ian Edginton, Hinterkind, a post-apocalyptic story in which humanity is now the endangered species and nature has run wild all over the world. Just the description of the setting itself intrigued me and made me want to read the comic ASAP. And I would have, as soon as New Comic Book Day came, if it wasn’t or some other reading commitments and plans that intervened. Might be reading this “late” but its sure been one hell of an experience.
Much as with DC’s New 52, Marvel’s reboot of its entire line-up (mostly) means that its a great place to get started with their comics. New books. New creative teams. The whole deal. I’ve tried to get a start on some of the titles, primarily X-Men but I’ve only stuck with a very small handful. With news of the Guardians of the Galaxy movie being a part of Marvel’s phase 2 for its cinematic universe, I decided to go ahead and read the current ongoing, written by a long-time Marvel main-stay, Brian Michael Bendis.
Marvel doesn’t exactly any cosmic books ongoing right now. As far as I can tell, Guardians of the Galaxy and Thor: God of Thunder are the only such, despite the fact that a lot of the Marvel events have an effect on the entire galaxy, especially when they feature villains like Thanos and Ultron and Galactus and who knows who else. My first taste of Guardians of the Galaxy has been excellent, and I look forward to getting down with the second volume.
I’ve said before that my initial excitement for Greg Pak’s Batman/Superman was greatly tempered by the actual issues themselves. There’ve been three issues in the main series so far, and then there’s this Villain’s Month tie-in issue, which gives us an origin story for one of Superman’s greatest villains. Across all four issues, I’ve faced one disappointment after another. And its been a case of disappointment in all respects.
Greg Pak has written three Villain’s Month issues: Darkseid, Zod and now Doomsday. The first of these was extremely disappointing, largely because of the story execution. The way it set things up, things looked promising but then it all fell flat. And I haven’t yet read the second issue. Probably for the best if I don’t go ahead and read it now, at this point.
Note: Spoilers follow.
Almost three weeks ago, three of my friends started a Kickstarter campaign to fund an original fiction anthology featuring the hot monsters of the year: kaiju. Reviewer and blogger Nick Sharps, and authors Tim Marquitz and J. M. Martin put together this project, bringing together a really great group of authors to contribute to this anthology, Kaiju Rising: Age of Monsters. I had a small contribution to the project in its early stages and I’m really great that its come together so, so well. The project got its target funding in short order and it is now at the 130% funding stage and has just achieved its fourth stretch goal at $13,000.
Now, here’s Nick Sharps, the man behind the entire idea, to talk more about the project and what the next stretch goal, at $14,000, holds for backers. I think its a fantastic idea and I already can’t wait to read this anthology when it eventually comes out through Ragnarok Publications. So off we go!