The newly (re)launched Ms. Marvel’s first arc (sort of) wrapped up last month on a really nice melancholic note. Writer G. Willow Wilson really went to town to create a realistic modern teenaged character with some real personal issues and she made Kamala Khan’s story resonate. That has been something that has served this series in good stead, for most of the comics right now from the Big 2 really don’t focus so much on characters like Kamala. In a lot of different ways. And the uniqueness that results has made this series one of the best on the shelves each month.
The new Ms. Marvel #6 takes some time off from Kamala’s usual heroics and interactions with her family to focus on things like her religious instructor and mentor as the two interact really well together in quite surprising ways. And also, we get to see a surprise guest star in the second half of the issue (spoilers will be below!) and that really made my day, to see Kamala meet and hang out with this superstar superhero. G. Willow Wilson’s writing in this issue was spot on and consistent, though with Jacob Wyatt stepping in for a pencil guest-spot, the art isn’t to the usual high standards.
In the short time that it has been operating, Ragnarok Publications has been doing some great work by all accounts. Their kaiju anthology that was released early this year, Kaiju Rising: Age of Monsters was an awesome piece of kaiju fiction that covered all different sorts of genres and styles and what not, and the men behind the publisher have been going full at it for a good long while now. A few months ago Tim Marquitz, Joe Martin and Kenny Soward launched a new series for Ragnarok, called Dead West, and it was promoted quite heavily as a new spin on an old and popular genre.
Those Poor, Poor Bastards is set in the American Mid-West during the mid-1800s and it features zombies and holy magic and the American Frontier and everything else that goes with all of that. Having read some of Tim’s fiction previously, I was expecting the story to be quite bold and brash, with some rough humour thrown in for good measure, and I wasn’t disappointed in that at all. Tim collaborates on this with his Ragnarok co-publisher Joe Martin and with author Kenny Soward, with the three of them turning out quite an interesting zombie western that unfortunately does have a few flaws.
Time travel. Dimensional War. Death. Betrayal. Aliens. Superheropocalypse. DC’s Future’s End weekly comic has done it all in its two and a half months so far. What started off as a really dark title with superheroes dying left and right has matured into something a little light-hearted, something that has become a superhero mystery and an action-packed tale of “two minutes to midnight” rather than superhero horror. It started off really good, and thought it has wobbled a bit in the middle, it is still one of the best books that DC is putting out right now.
This week’s Future’s End #11 sees the continuation of several plots and the introduction of yet new players as the world moves towards an inevitability. No Grifter and Fifty Sue this time, but we get to see a fair bit of the Justice League of the future, as well as get some bonding time between Amethyst and Frankenstein, along with a really startling development from Mr. Terrific. In spite of all the changes that have happened in this series of late, it looks like there are many more yet to come and I loved that this issue acted as a launch-point for yet more stories, though I’m slightly concerned by how convoluted it is all getting.
Moving into the final phase of Original Sin, which just one more month to go before it all wraps-up, things are finally beginning to heat up for all the characters involved here. After all the startling revelations of the last two issues, everyone is in an uncertain place and I’m really loving how Jason Aaron has developed the story and how Mike Deodato and his art team have handled the artwork. The last few issues have been really good, and the title is certainly becoming one of my favourite reads of the year, and as an event comic it is certainly superb.
After the flashback-heavy content of the previous issue, Original Sin #6 moves full-steam ahead with the current story as heroes recruited by Nick Fury confront him aboard his secret satellite space station, even as the Avengers and the other heroes race against the clock to find out what the hell is going on with the “dead” Nick Fury’s body that they have and with the Watcher Uatu’s murder. Jason Aaron is absolutely superb in this issue and Mike Deodato and team don’t hold back either, making this the best issue of this series to date.
Well, it has been a couple weeks again since I did this feature. The week before, well, it was marriage week for me and I barely read 4 books, so it didn’t really make sense to do a post on just those four, so I skipped it. And it was a really slow week all in all, especially for blogging, so I just decided to let things rest for an entire week. But I’m back again this time!
The surprise hits of this week were Death Vigil #1 from Top Cow andGrayson #1 from DC Comics. The surprise flop of the week would be Spider-Man 2099 #1 from Marvel Comics. Expectedly great comics such as Fantastic Four #7 from Marvel Comics, Batgirl #3# from DC all delivered on their promises as well. Not a lot of comics this past week, certainly not as much as the week prior or my usual number of ~25/week, but definitely a good number at 21 issues. Might take a dive in the next week though!
Just this past week, it was announced that Batgirl would be shifting creative teams in October and that the title would undergo a major creative revamp. Goes without saying that I’m going to be really saddened to see Gail Simone, Fernando Pasarin, Blond, Jonathan Glapion and the others leave the title because I’ve really enjoyed what they’ve done in the last year, especially Gail who has shepherded much of the title since the New 52 relaunch. Thankfully, it looks like she is intending to go out with a bang if the cliffhanger ending from last month’s issue is anything to go by.
Given that Batman: Eternal is currently ongoing and that some of the events of that weekly series are beginning to trickle down elsewhere, it kind of makes sense that Batgirl too would get sweeped up in the wake of it. Batgirl #33 is quite possibly one of Gail Simone’s best issues on the title, mostly for the fact that it includes three of my favourite DC leading ladies and the ending of the issue looks set to take things to the next level. The art is slightly fuzzy at times, but the action is crisp and awesome, so I won’t complain.
Since revamping the Captain Marvel series with Carol Danvers as once again in the titular role, writer Kelly Sue DeConnick has been crafting quite an interesting story that somewhat ties into last year’s Infinity event, but also stands on its own, apart from what happened in that event. Her Carol Danvers is better than ever and it does feel like a serious revamp since the story this time around is so much better than what she did back in 2012 when she first got a chance on the title. And it helps that the artwork has been pretty stunning as well, whether we talk pencils or colours or what have you.
Captain Marvel #5 is where some of the mysteries surrounding the planet of Torfa begin to come together for a reveal. The reasoning behind J’son and the Spartax’s bid to remove the refugees on the planet and take control is finally unveiled and it is something major indeed, something worth even killing over. And more than that, we get some great political interplay between the ruling council on Torfa, with Carol herself becoming quite the figurehead. Kelly Sue knocks this one out of the part as far as the writing is concerned and the art isn’t far behind either.
Last year, Lucas Books began a brand-new Star Wars series, the Empire and Rebellion, wherein we got to read three different stories, each focusing on a different member of the Star Wars trinity: Leia, Han and Luke. The first novel came out last year, Martha Wells’ quite excellent Razor’s Edge, and I’ve been kind of looking forward to the other two books ever since, Corey’s Honor Among Thieves and Kevin Hearne’s Heir To The Jedi. I love reading fiction about the Rebellion Era and Razor’s Edge scratched that particular itch quite well, so I was expecting Honor Among Thieves to be quite good, even though it is written by an author I don’t like.
Honor Among Thieves is the second in the Empire and Rebellion series and it focuses on smuggler and pilot-turned-hero Han Solo as he undertakes another mission for the Rebellion some time after the destruction of the first Death Star and before the events of the second of the original trilogy, The Empire Strikes Back. And it proved to be a very disappointing read since neither the characters nor the premise of the novel made any good impression on me. In fact, it feels most unlike a Star Wars novel, for the characters are nothing like how they’ve been portrayed over the years and the premise is just entirely silly.
The wrap-up of James Robinson and Leonard Kirk’s first arc on the newly relaunched Fantastic Four back in the end of May was quite heart-breaking indeed. The two creators, along with artists Jay Leisten and Jesus Aburtov had done an absolutely magnificent job up until that point and the fifth issue was really something else, especially since it starred a whole bunch of other creators as the US government took the team to task for their past mistakes and really made them pay. And given that the Original Sin event is ongoing too, well, the future is distinctly dark for the team.
There’s a lot that has happened in the previous five issues, and in issues 6 and 7 things really take a turn for the worse because the events of Original Sin finally hit the team, in addition to everything else that has been going on with them. And their troubles are far from over because the US government is still not done with them, or their kids and allies like the Dragon Man. And in the midst of it all, what The Orb did in Original Sin #3 is coming back to bite Johnny as Ben learns a terrible secret and acts on it. Robinson’s writing in this series has been heart-breaking from the get go, but these two issues really step up the tension even as the art team continues to be utterly fantastic.
I’ve said this many a times before, and I say this again: Image has really been outdoing itself since last year. It has launched so many new and different series that I’ve lost count and many of the ones that I’ve read have been absolutely fantastic. I mean, for me, I either love an Image book or hate it, and the best part is that I love more than three-quarters of what I read from the publisher. And when the talent involved is as good as it has been on some of these titles, then that is even more cause for joy, for favourite writers/artists combined with a great product really mean a solid product long-term.
Death Vigil #1 is the first in a new series that Image launched last Wednesday and it features story and art both by Stjepan Sejic, one of my absolute favourite artists in the industry and a man who delivers on the most gorgeous visuals ever, no matter what character or setting or what have you he works on. I’ve loved almost all his work that I’ve seen to date and with Death Vigil he turns writer yet again after doing a collaboration with Ron Marz last year, and I have to say that I like this more than his other series. It features some great characters and some great art and some great story, even though it is almost twice the length of a regular comic!
It has been a good long while since I’ve read a Forgotten Realms novel. The last one was in December of last year, Elfshadow by Elaine Cunningham. It was a fairly good read, but I’ve definitely read better, from the works of Erin M. Evans and Paul S. Kemp and Richard Baker and all. It is definitely a setting that I love exploring and the more I read in it, the more excited I get about it. Forgotten Realms fully explores the multiverse side of things for a fantasy setting, and that is part of the charm, in addition to the utter abundance and wonder of its many different races and cultures and what not.
And in that respect, Richard Baker’s first novel in the Last Mythal Saga, Forsaken House, is really good. It presents many different facets of Elf life in the Forgotten Realms and it also presents a really fast-paced, excitable and intriguing premise paired with some really interesting characters. The only other novel of Richard’s I’ve read before this is his Condemnation, the third novel in the 6-part War of the Spider Queen multi-author extravaganza and that too was a damn fine read. It is great to see Richard’s best replicated here, and the Last Mythal Saga is definitely a tale that I want to read in full now.
Marvel’s Original Sin event is fast approaching its big showdown, with only about 5 more weeks to go before it all ends. Up until now it has been quite the spectacular event under Jason Aaron and Mike Deodato, and I have been very impressed by how it has all come together. To go with the event comics, Marvel has also started releasing some tie-ins that deal with the big moment from Original Sin #3, when the Orb unveiled one of Uatu’s eyes and the superheroes present were exposed to some pretty big secrets from their past. Last time it was a revelation between Hulk and Iron Man. Now…
Thor and Loki: The Tenth Realm is the second tie-in of this event and where the first was about an “accident”, the new issue is about a revelation about the past that was hidden from these two brothers, a revelation that shocks Thor to his core and also ends up getting All-Mother Freya extremely emotional, a state of being that I’ve never seen on her face in all the comics I’ve read with her to date. Jason Aaron and Al Ewing’s story is top-notch here with some really great moments and the art by Lee Garbet, Simone Bianchi and the others is impressive as well.