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Comics Picks For 10.12.2014

Almost a month after the last time, I finally had a Magic 40 week! And not just any plan Magic 40 week, but one where I managed to read three graphic novels as well!

For this week, the surprise hits were Fables: The Wolf Among Us #1 from Vertigo Comics, Death of Wolverine: Logan Legacy #6 and Spider-Man & The X-Men #1 from Marvel Comics, Justice League #32-36 from DC Comics and The Valiant #1 from Valiant Comics. The comic (yes, the only one!) that proved to be rather disappointing, even unexpectedly so, was New Suicide Squad #5 from DC. Apart from that, a good run continued on several other titles like HexedJohn Carter: Warlord of MarsBatman: EternalBirthrightPrometheus: Fire and Stone and others.

The three graphic novels for this week were: Grimm Fairy Tales: Code Red Volume 1, which is set during the recent Age of Darkness crossover event from Zenescope Entertainment, Mighty Avengers Volume 2 from Marvel, which is an effort by me to catch up on this mostly-good title, and Supergirl Volume 1, which is an older Supergirl title, pre-New 52.

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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Fast-Shot Comics Reviews 10.12.2014

This segment is proving to be quite interestingly popular in certain corners, and I still am taken with how it allows me to cover so many more comics than I would otherwise be able to. It is suitably time-intensive as well, which can sometimes wear on me when I have so much more to do, but not such a big deal. Plus, choosing which comic to feature here, while a challenge, is also quite a fun process in and of itself, so that’s something as well.

The picks for this week are: Brides of Helheim #3, Chastity #4-6, Dredd Uprise #2, Hexed #5, Spider-Verse Team-Up #2 and Prometheus: Fire and Stone #3-4. Lots of catch-up on the reviews this week, as you can see!

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12 Days of Best Covers of 2014: Day #3

The third book cover I pick for the 2014 edition of “12 Days of Best Covers of…” is for Christie Golden’s World of WarCraft tie-in novel The Shattering: Prelude To The Cataclysm. This novel marked a resurgence of my interest in reading tie-in fiction outside of Warhammer, Star Wars or Star Trek, and took me back to the days when I first read The Last Guardian and Rise of The Horde, two of the best WoW novels I’ve read to date. And since I never got to play the Cataclysm expansion properly at level, this prequel novel did much to soothe that longing.

The third set of comic covers I pick this year are for Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 10 #1 by Christos Gage and Rebekah Isaacs, with the cover done by Steve Morris, and the second one is for Superior Spider-Man Annual #2, also by Christos Gage, though he worked with pencillers Javier Rodriguez and Philippe Briones on this one, with the cover done by Michael Del Mundo. The former marked my first foray into reading Buffy comics, though I had read some of the Angel & Faith comics before that and the latter was another dip into the Superior Spider-Man territory, the premise of which I find rather intriguing, to say the least and love it as well.

So without further ado, hit the break to see both the covers in all their glory! The full list of all these covers is available here.

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Advent Review #16: Dungeons & Dragons: Legends of Baldur’s Gate #3 (Comics Review)

Jim Zub and Max Dunbar have kicked off IDW’s new Dungeons & Dragons series, Legends of Baldur’s Gate in great style recently, with a story that ties in to the setting’s newest lore-gaming expansion, Tyranny of Dragons. The first two issues have proven to be rather spectacular, focusing on characters old and new alike, and presenting readers with a pretty damn fantastic mystery as well, one that draws the characters into a much larger story than it at first apparent, and all I can say that it is a blast right now.

Legends of Baldur’s Gate #3, out last week,sees the characters take the next step in their search for Delina’s twin brother Deniak, who went missing in Baldur’s Gate some time back. With the help of the Beloved Ranger and social outcasts Krydle and Shandie, Delina has faced up to some interesting adventures of late, and the latest is a roof-top chase across the city that brings her face-to-face against someone she didn’t expect, even as the other characters face up to their own unique challenges and predicaments in a most fun way.

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12 Days of Best Covers of 2014: Day #2

The second book cover I pick for the 2014 edition of “12 Days of Best Covers of…” is for Michael J. Martinez’s The Enceladus Crisis which is the second novel in his Daedalus series. Michael debuted last year on a very strong note with The Daedalus Incident and he carries forward almost all of the same energy and excitement of the debut, telling a new story with characters I’ve come to really care about, in a setting that is wildly creative unlike any space opera I’ve read before.

And the second set of comic covers I pick this year are for Tomb Raider #1 by Gail Simone and Nicolás Daniel Selma, with the cover done by Dan Dos Santos, and the second one is for Harley Quinn #3 by Amanda Conner, Jimmy Palmiotti and Chad Hardin, with the cover done by Amanda Conner and Dave Johnson (corrected!). With Gail on Tomb Raider, it was an instant pick for me as part of my reading for the month and since I loved the direction that Amanda and Jimmy were going with on their brand-new top-selling title, that too was pretty automatic, especially given how they twist the concept of Valentine’s Day for their titular character.

So without further ado, hit the break to see both the covers in all their glory! The full list of all these covers is available here.

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Arrow Season 2.5 #8 (Comics Review)

The previous issue of Arrow Season 2.5 was a pretty rough one for Oliver. It turned out that during his escape from the Church of Blood, the new Count Vertigo (played in the season 3 premiere by the amazing Peter Stormare) had dosed him with a dangerous hallucinagen and that made him fight his friends, and the memories of his family. As an exploration of Oliver’s damaged and tortured psyche, it was a fairly good installment and though it was a surprise to see Count Vertigo debut in the comic, it also made for a rather thrilling read toward the end so no complaints there.

In this week’s Arrow Season 2.5 #8, we see the consequences and lead-off from Oliver’s big fight against his memories and friends while dosed up on the drug from the new Count. It turns out actually that Sara is indeed in town on some assignment and she helps the team get back on its feet and beat-off the after-effects of a rather terrible night, a mission gone totally wrong. And on the other side, we have Waller continue to position her pieces with the Suicide Squad, preparing them to go to Kahndaq on a mission to kill a local warlord.

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The Valiant #1 (Comics Review)

Valiant Comics currently possesses a great team superhero book in Matt Kindt’s ongoing Unity, which launched last year in the Fall and has since become one of my favourite comics across the board. In that title, we see various heroes come together to battle it out with an alien menace in the present timeline, and win through with some big handicaps along the way. The title has wavered a bit here and there at points, but the end result is that it is still a damn good book, one that I recommend fairly highly for all readers.

And this week the publisher launched The Valiant #1, which is the start of a new team superhero book, though along different lines and also focusing on slightly different characters, though there is indeed some overlap between the books in terms of the characters featured, such as Gilad Anni-Padda aka Eternal Warrior and Aric the Visigoth aka X-O Manowar. Jeff Lemire and Matt Kindt tell a riveting tale of Gilad’s past failures in this debut issue and artists Paolo and Joe Rivera do their utmost to make it a visual feast. Read the rest of this entry

Advent Review #14: Grimm Fairy Tales #105 (Comics Review)

After the end of a first arc involving an evil Genie released in Arcane Acre courtesy of the silly curiosity of Wulf and Hailey, last month writer Pat Shand kicked off a new arc, a 2-parter that delved into Hailey’s origins in Neverland and explored why and how she came to study at Arcane Acre with the new Realm Knights-in-training. It was a fairly good issue since while I’m familiar with most of the other characters, Hailey and Wulf are among those I know nothing about and the new arc helped me get familiar with them.

At the end of last month’s issue we saw that Sela managed to intervene on Neverland and get the kids back to Arcane Acre, all except Wulf who got left behind, through no fault of his or Sela’s or anyone else. Pat Shand picks up the story from the get go after that and launches straight into the action after that. This one is quite the action-packed issue, by a good margin, and we get to see Wulf become a badass hero, even as Hailey’s life is completely turned around once again. Pat Shand certainly doesn’t relent on the narrative front and Andrea Meloni’s art fares pretty well under the pressure too, not as much as I’d hoped for.

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12 Days of Best Covers of 2014: Day #1

Last year I started a seasonal “Best of…” list that focused on some of the best covers I saw that year, whether for novels or comics. And now, it being the same time of the year in the new year, it is an opportunity to bring the list back, more so since it was really popular when I started it.

The first of these “Best of…” book covers is actually a tie between William King’s Terrarch Chronicles #2: The Serpent Tower and Django Wexler’s Shadow Campaigns #1: The Thousand Names. None of these two are 2014 publications, which is usually how I do these lists, but I wasn’t particularly taken with the covers of the two 2014 books I did read, so here we are (Though, it should be mentioned that the mass paperback of The Thousand Names came out in July’14). I’ve long been a fan of William’s work for Black Library, and Terrarch Chronicles was his first self-published work, the first novel in the series being one of my favourites last year. And with Django’s debut from last year, I’ve become a big fan of his work too and will be reading the sequel in a few days, hopefully. Looking forward to that!

The first of these “Best of…” comics covers is another tie, owing more to how many more comics I began to read this year compared to previous years, each week. And the picks are the covers for Witchblade #172 by Stjepan Sejic and for Black Widow #2 by Phil Noto. The Witchblade is a character I’ve long been a fan, specifically its bearer Sara Pezzini and with Ron Marz coming back on the title last year, it proved to be a new fun era for the title in all respects. And on Black Widow, I’ve seen some of the best content from Marvel all-year, with the new title being matched in consistency only by G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona’s Ms. Marvel.

So without further ado, hit the break to see both the covers in all their glory! The full list of all these covers is available here.

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Advent Review #13: The Magdalena: Seventh Sacrament #1 (Comics Review)

Top Cow has been running a Talent Hunt for two years running now, and this is the third year of them doing it yet again. They’ve found some really incredible creators in the last two years as a result of this search, as evidenced by the fact that the winners have had their stories and their art printed in Artifacts series, which kind of started off as a long-ish mini-series or such, but then went on to become a mammoth ongoing that has seen some big moments since Jackie Estacado and Sara Pezzini changed the whole world.

And now, this past week, we had The Magdalena: Seventh Sacrament #1, which is written and drawn by creators found during last year’s talent hunt, Tini Howard and Aileen Oracion. What this issue, which I think might be a one-off actually, does is explore the origins of the warriors known as The Magdalena, daughters of Christ who are chosen to become guardian angels over the Earth and fight the dark enemies of the Church everywhere. It is a fairly interesting story in most respects, with some good art, but it is also a bit too “freshman” at times, with some rather rough edges.

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John Carter: Warlord of Mars #2 (Comics Review)

Last month Ron Marz and Abhishek Malsuni breathed some new life into Dynamite Entertainment’s John Carter franchise with the release of their John Carter: Warlord of Mars #1 which is the first new comic to come out in the post-settlement era (between the ERB estate and Dynamite). And it was a pretty awesome start to the series, packed with all the action and character I could have asked for, especially with the establishment of a new villain for John Carter to eventually face off against.

This week’s John Carter: Warlord of Marz #2 continues the story of a Barsoom under siege by an alien species led by an Earther, Captain Joshua Clark who fancies himself as a nemesis to John Carter, having fought opposite him during the Civil War back in America. Ron Marz starts off the new issue on a very strong note, by showing John facing off against a White Ape of Mars, and continues in the same vein as we get even more character development with the cast, and as Abhishek Malsuni continues to impress with is energy-packed visuals which really capture the wild and ferocious nature of life on the Red Planet.

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Advent Review #12: Sensation Comics #17-18 (Comics Review)

A couple weeks back the awesome writing/artist team of Corinna Bechko and Gabriel Hardman came together to do the current three-part arc on Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman. After somewhat of a glut of good stories on the title, the pair told a really fun story that had Diana travel to Apokolips to exfiltrate two Amazons who had gone missing on a mission to the death world. Corinna and Gabriel are among two of my favourite creators and to see them do a Wonder Woman story proved to be as exciting and satisfying as I expected, probably a bit more too.

In the first issue of the arc, we saw Diana travel to Apokolips, face off against some of Darkseid’s Furies, lose, and then get tossed into the inner fires of the death world. In issues #17 and #18, we see how she gets out of that particular mess, and how she ends up completing the mission, with a fair few complications and twists involved along the way. With these two issues, Corinna and Gabriel bring their three-parter to a close, and they do it in really great style, showing off how Darkseid and Diana interact in particular and what this can mean for the “relationship” between Apokolips and Themiscyra, moving forward.

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