Of late, the action in Future’s End has really been ramping up to something epic. With all the different plotlines going on, it was inevitable that many of them would intersect with each other in quite interesting ways, and that is exactly what has been happening. Thing is, despite the apparent lack of general popularity in the title as far as the blogosphere is concerned, the title still appears to be going strong and week after week I can see why. It has some of DC’s top writing and top art at the moment and that has value, even if a lot of it is just the house style..
The epic went into overdrive in this week’s Future’s End #12. First we had this big fight scene with Amethyst, Frankenstein and Hawkman, with a decidedly major cliffhanger. Then the King Faraday and Voodoo plotlines intersected something fierce and I’m left wondering if the character of “Courtney” is who I think it is. Then the plotline with a villain named Ethan got super-interesting, considering how he was broken out of prison recently and after that we got the most magnificent cliffhanger ending ever in comics, as we got taken back to the future that Terry McGinnis is trying to prevent in the past.
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!
Launched last year, Harley Quinn by Jimmy Palmiotti, Amanda Conner and Chad Hardin has pretty much taken the market by storm. The first few issues were all chart-toppers and the series has continued a good sales run without any signs of serious flagging. I’ve loved and disliked the series in equal measure for while the story has mostly been good, the art has been less so, but that kind of fluctuates as well. Still, I won’t deny that Harley Quinn has been a most fun book indeed and that the fact it has managed to steer clear of any other book/event/crossover has been rather impressive.
When DC announced plans for Harley Quinn Invades Comic-Con #1, I got really excited. Can you just imagine the sheer fun of such a title? The promise of lots of crazy antics, lots of surprises, lots of fourth-wall breaking, it is all there in this title. And when I read it last week, this title delivered on every bit of them. From the group of Joker cosplayers to Harley Quinn cosplayers, from Dan Didio and Geoff Johns and Stephen Amell cameos to Harley Quinn going to Jim Lee for an artist portfolio review, this issue was all-out fun. The art was a bit iffy and slightly inconsistent, but I’ll give that a pass.
Last year veteran Batman writer Grant Morrison finally killed of Damian Wayne, the character that he created along with artist-writer Andy Kubert almost a decade ago. The fallout from Damian’s death was a bit intense across the Bat-family titles (for most of them anyway), but then the titles moved on, and the gaping heart remained since Damian Wayne, the son of Bruce Wayne aka Batman and Ra’s al-Ghul’s daughter Talia, was the current Robin and had apparently gained a lot of popularity among fans despite his many… flaws. I certainly didn’t enjoy what little I read of the character in various comics, but he was… interesting.
With Robin Rises: Omega #1, a one-shot comic, it appears that DC is looking to bring back the fan-favourite Robin from the dead, and I’m already turned off by it. I got this double-sized issue to see what kind of a story I was going to get here and because there was a good amount of buzz for it, and all I’m left with after reading through it is plain disappointment. Tomasi’s writing has been decent at best for me, but with this issue he really bored me from the get go. And while Andy Kubert’s art has been decent at best as well, I couldn’t get into it so much, although the art is definitely better than the story here.
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.
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!
More than any other superhero, Dick Grayson aka Nightwing suffered the most during DC’s recent big-event, Forever Evil. He was captured by Superwoman and then his civilian identity was unmasked during a global vid-cast, after he was beaten black-and-blue by the Crime Syndicate. The stage was set for his death during this event, for with his unmasking there followed the very real danger that his friends would be found out as well. He did die during the event, for all his friends, and this was the same time as the announcement that he would return in a new identity and new series very soon.
Grayson #1 is the start of a new series that, in my limited experience, puts Dick Grayson in one of the most unique phases of his life, something that can match his temporary tenure as Batman during Bruce’s supposed death. Batman convinced him at the end of Forever Evil that he should recast himself as a special ops agent for SPYRAL and writers Tim Seeley and Tom King have had the distinction of shepherding him through this new phase, and they’ve really done a top job with this first issue. Plus, the art by Mikel Janin, Jeromy Cox and Carlos M. Mangual deserves top marks as well.
The comics format doesn’t always work so well for developing mysteries and thrillers. A large portion of this is dependent of course on the quality of the writing but the format still makes a difference, because you can’t let the mysteries stew for too long or develop too quickly. This is where the weekly format appears to have a bit of a leg-up. And DC’s Future’s End has done a fairly good job of it so far I think, even though the four writers on this weekly have been intermingling several different plot threads together. The issue we come back to is that of quality and Future’s End has been fairly satisfactory in that regard..
Once again we have two of my favourite artists, Aaron Lopresti and Art Thibert on this weekly series, with this week’s Future’s End #10 and they both do a superb job as penciller and inker respectively, as they’ve done previously. With all the different plotlines going on presently, the variety is all up for grabs and I think that Future’s End #10 is one of my favourite issues of the series, partly because it features a really awesome scene where Amethyst smacks down Hawkman. And a lot of the other plotlines are also moving towards a resolution, so I can’t wait to see what happens next week.
Undeniably, DC’s Future’s End weekly comic series has dealt with some huge events in its first two months. We’ve seen several heroes murdered in cold blood by vicious alien intelligences. We’ve seen friendships and relationships sundered by petty egos and a refusal to accept compromise. In the midst of all that the series has dealt with so far, it hasn’t lost sight of its primary objective, the story of Terry McGinnis stepping back in time to prevent a most horrible future, a future which hinges on a very basic element. All very Terminator-esque.
Today’s Future’s End #9 finally gets around to making some important revelations that are capstones for a lot of the different arcs that have been going on in this series of late, especially in the last four weeks. We see just what is going on at Cadmus Island with Deathstroke and Grifter, while Terry McGinnis makes some solid inroads into breaking back into Michael Holt’s base of operations, even as his target studies the alien lifeform that Terry brought back with him, and the story of Lois Lane being ever on the hunt of a story continues as ever.
What happens when you combine grimdark with comics? Well, one answer is that you get Future’s End, DC’s two-month old weekly series that has been gaining a lot of traction of late, and for some very good reasons. Personally, I’ve been very surprised at how well this book has turned out, especially given the double experiments going on with it with respect to the New 52, and I’ve been hooked on this series from the beginning, so that’s my excuse for sticking with it so far when I’ve kind of lost interest in its sister series, Batman: Eternal.
After all the epicness of the previous issue, we delve a bit more into some of the character relationships this time, and also get exposed to a couple of big twists in the story that really turn things around. The sort of violence that has been common to the series from the start is present here as well, and while I kind of liked it, I also thought it was a bit too much. Still, neither of the four writers are taking steps back this month, and neither are the artists, with Scot Eaton coming on board as a penciller and doing a wonderful job with the artwork.