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Best of 2014 Part 1b: Monthly Comics

A few days ago I did my best of 2014 list for the novels I have read in the first half of this year. That list followed the same format that I have been using for 2 years now, but with this new list I decided to make a big departure, owing to how many comics I’ve been reading in recent months, often 80+ comics in a single month! That’s crazy.

So, with the books already having been covered, I now delve into my favourite monthly comics of the year. The next post will be at the end of the year for the second half of the year.

You can check out my top-of-the-month lists on my Reading Awards page and this list is both an extension, and a continuation of what goes on there.

Let’s see what makes the cut and which comes close then!

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Comics Picks For 09.07.2014

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!

Anyway, here’s another edition of “Comics Picks For…”. Full reading list, as always, is available here and all my comics reviews are available here.

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Batgirl #33 (Comics Review)

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.

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Comics Picks For 25.06.2014

This past has week has actually been a pretty rough week. I think there were about 3 days in all where I didn’t even put up any posts on the blog. And it took me almost 10 days to read just 2 short books, which is pretty damn rough by my standards. And as of yesterday morning I was well in the position of barely having read even ten comics in the past week. But since yesterday evening I set out to change that and I have managed to read thirty comics in all, which is the first of such a milestone for me. And possibly the last since my wedding is this Saturday and things are gonna kick up a notch from tomorrow afternoon.

The surprise hits of this week were Clive Barker’s Nightbreed #2 from Boom Studios, New Avengers Annual #1 from Marvel Comics and Batman: Eternal #12 from DC Comics. The surprise flops would be Star Wars: Rebel Heist #3 from Dark Horse Comics (again!), Batman #32 from DC Comics and Original Sin: Hulk vs Iron Man #1 from Marvel Comics. Comics that I expected to be great, such as Grimm Fairy Tales Presents Helsing #3 from Zenescope Entertainment, Ms. Marvel #5 from Marvel Comics and both Superman #32 and Justice League Dark #32 from DC, were every bit what I wanted them to be. And I’d like to make a special note of Justice League #31 which proved to be quite interesting after the snoozefest that was Justice League #30 in the month prior. No graphic novels in this week, but that’s fine.

Anyway, here’s another edition of “Comics Picks For…”. Full reading list, as always, is available here and all my comics reviews are available here.

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Comics Picks For 11.06.2014

This past comics week the preparations for my upcoming marriage swung into full gear and its been a rough week in all, especially since it took me a grand total of five days to read a single novel, which happens extremely rarely, but which I fear might become common over the next few weeks. Still, I managed to catch up on most of my comics last night and early this morning, so it was good.

The surprise hits of this week were Armor Hunters #1 from Valiant Comics, Cyclops #2  from Marvel Comics, and Red City #1 from Image Comics. The surprise flops would be Abe Sapien #13: The Healer #1from Dark Horse Comics, Vampirella: Morning in America #1 from Dynamite Entertainment. Comics that I expected to be great, such as Grimm Fairy Tales Presents #4 from Zenescope Entertainment, Captain Marvel #4 from Marvel Comics, Batgirl #32 from DC Comics and The Royals: Masters of War #5 from Vertigo Comics were truly great reads that made up for an otherwise lackluster week, in the main. Not a whole lot of new stuff from DC either, so I spent time reading up a few of the older issues and worked my way through two graphic novels no less, Dark Horse’ Conan: The Phantoms of The Black Coast and Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2: Angela.

Anyway, here’s another edition of “Comics Picks For…”. Full reading list, as always, is available here and all my comics reviews are available here.

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Batgirl #32 (Comics Review)

After finishing up her big Wanted arc, writer Gail Simone then delved into a few short arcs and one-shots as part of her run on Batgirl and that proved to be a great move since it helped break the monotony of the longer arcs and provided lots of great jumping-on points for new readers, especially with the short and sweet Gothtopia event that she participated in. And ever since Wanted, there have been some really strong themes that have been carried forward and now with the advent of the Batman: Eternal weekly series, things look set to change even more.

Batgirl #32 is about more than just Batgirl’s problems. There is, in fact, a hell of a lot going on. Charise Carnes aka Knightfall is still planning her takeover of Gotham. Barbara’s boyfriend Ricky is planning to sue her father for shooting him during a botched GCPD raid a few weeks ago. Commissioner Gordon is still in jail following the opening issue of Batman: Eternal and just overall, Gotham is not the place that it was for us readers just a few months ago. And in the midst of it all, lots of new storylines are branching off, and its going to be interesting to see how Gail Simone manages to work it all together.

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Comics Picks For 14.05.2014

I keep pushing myself week after week to read as much as I can since it is not like my current reading pile and backlogged comics are going to reduce in size, or that upcoming comics are going be less. For the last 2-3 weeks, I’ve been reading 20+ comics and this week I tried to aim for a good, solid 25. I ended up with 26 individual issues and a 5-issue graphic novel. So, 27 items in all. That’s a hell of a lot and I’m really surprised that I read so many last week. Far cry from the same time last year when I was managing 10 a week at most. I just wasn’t reading all that much I suppose.

The surprise hits of this week would definitely be Star Trek: New Visions #1 from IDW, Street Fighter #0 from UDON E and Robyn Hood: Legend #1 from Zenescope whereas the surprise flops would be IDW’s Transformers vs GI Joe #0 and DC’s Batman: Eternal #6. Both these books were incomprehensible and even silly beyond the silly. Books that I expected to be good, such as Archie Comics’ Afterlife With Archie #5, DC’s Future’s End #2 and Marvel’s Fantastic Four #4, were what I wanted them to be and they were all three of them great. And special mention for Archaia’s Hacktivist which ended on #4 with a great issue that wrapped up the existing plotlines very nicely. And I did manage to read a graphic novel this week, Grimm Fairy Tales Presents Realm Knights Vol.1 and got a start on another, Fables Vol.3, so that’s something too.

Anyway, here’s another edition of “Comics Picks For…”. Full reading list, as always, is available here and all my comics reviews are available here.

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Batgirl #31 (Comics Review)

Last month, writer Marguerite Bennett got another shot at writing a Batgirl story, having previously worked on the Zero Year tie-in Batgirl #25, which really wasn’t all that good, like most other Zero Year tie-ins unfortunately. Her issue last month followed a similar pattern of writing some really bland stories, although her Lois Lane one-shot earlier this year was a bit better. Thing is, her issue really made me miss series writer Gail Simone on the title and thankfully Gail returns this week and the series is back to being awesome. Gail has shepherded Barbara in her solo series throughout the New 52, and it is pretty great to see her deliver once again.

Batgirl #31 puts Barbara up against one of the coolest and creepiest characters in all of DC comics: Ragdoll. First time I read about Ragdoll, he was in Gail’s Secret Six series from a few years back, which was a supervillain team book of sorts featuring characters such as Ragdoll, Deadshot, Bane, Catman and others. I read the first volume last year and it was kind of fun. And the character has been missing in the New 52 as far as I know, showing up only in one of Peter J. Tomasi’s Arkham War issues for Forever Evil. In this issue, Gail gives him a great outing and artist Fernando Pasarin also excels in making Ragdoll really badass and also really, really creepy.

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Comics Picks For 30.04.2014

In this new week, I continued my winning streak of comics reading from the past week. And I managed to read two graphic novels in the process, both of which I’d put off for a long time, but finally got around to. Reading all these many comics is quite a mission, I have to say, but a good two hours during the week can help quite a bit. Now if only I could get some more hours in the day to make sure that I was able to read even more!

Not a lot of new comics series this week, although I liked titles like Dream Police and Rai while others like Battlestar Galactica: Six and Star Wars: Rebel Heist proved to be interesting but flawed. And I continued on with several more series, catching up to American Vampire: Second Cycle and a bit with Conan the Barbarian in particular. And this week was also Free Comic Book Day and I picked up a few titles digitally. Haven’t gotten through all of them, but I remain hopeful as ever.

Anyway, here’s another edition of “Comics Picks For…”. Full reading list, as always, is available here and all my comics reviews are available here.

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Batgirl Annual 2014 (Comics Review)

Given that April was a five-week month for comics releases, the final week saw the release of a lot of annuals from various publishers, plus some additional material here and there since Free Comic Book Day coincided with the Saturday of the week as well and that saw the release of quite a few freebies. As far as I’m concerned, Batgirl has been one of DC’s best titles in the New 52, especially when the title is under Gail Simone’s pen since I haven’t liked any of the issues written by the two guest writers we’ve had so far. Gail just… gets the characters and in the new annual issue, she shows that off quite nicely.

Last year’s Batgirl Annual focused on Batgirl, Catwoman and the Talon named Strix. It was a pretty damn good read and the Batgirl/Catwoman story was something I’ve wanted to see more of since. However, Gail goes a very different route this time, by showing us one of Batgirl’s “missing” adventures with the Birds of Prey when the team was still getting together in the New 52. It focuses on Batgirl’s relationship with Poison Ivy and is quite a cerebral read with Robert Gill and Javier Garrón’s artwork being especially nice.

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Wishlist: Comic Book Team-Ups Part 1

Reading Aquaman #30 (review) and Justice League United #0 (review) the other day got me thinking about what kind of team-ups I would like to see in comics, whether as part of new ongoing series or a limited series. Team-ups are a very old concept in comics and currently you look at most publishers, you will see a smattering of some kind of a team-up happening. DC, Marvel, Valiant, Dark Horse, Zenescope, Dynamite, IDW, etc, they all do team-ups, many of these in their own ongoing series or in special event series. Team-ups are fun because in a single book you get the chance to interact with a whole bunch of characters, each with their own attitudes and personalities and beliefs.

So, in that vein, as a fan of team-up comics, I thought I’d put together a list of some comic book team-ups that I’d love to see in the next five years from the various publishers. The idea started off as involving superhero comics from both DC and Marvel, but then I thought about it and decided to go broad spectrum, and so have included several other publishers as well. Part of this list is because of the comics fan inside of me and part of this list is because I genuinely want to see something different from the current spate of comics that are being offered on shelves. We all need diversity to sustain ourselves, in one form or another, which is yet another reason for this list.

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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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