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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.