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.
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.
As far as I am concerned Continuum has been the find of the year for me. It started off in 2012 with a 10-episode first season, but has since been renewed for a third season, which actually closes out this coming Sunday. Having seen the first six episodes more than a month back, I got hooked in right from the start, partly because I consider Rachel Nichols, Victor Webster, Lexa Doig and Tony Amendola to be great actors, and partly because the story and characters were just so good. It was a streak that I was hoping the next four episodes would maintain successfully.
And they do. Episodes 7-10 deal a lot with the complexities of relationships that Rachel Nichols’ Kiera Cameron has with all the people around her, especially Victor Webster’s Carlos Fonegra and Erik Knudsen’s Alec Sadler. That’s not all of course, for many other characters occasionally take the spotlight too, but it is a fact that episodes 7-10 of Continuum‘s first season are pretty damn god, as good as the previous six episodes, if not better in fact. Each episode offers something completely different from each other, and is all the better for it.
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.
Another week of heavy comics reading, and to think that just three days ago I was concerned whether or not I’d even be able to read 15 comics! How quickly things change, and for the better, in this case. It has been quite a good week this time with several new experimentations among other things.
The surprise hits of this week were Chew/Revival #1 from Image Comics, Doc Savage #1 and Vampirella #1, both from Dynamite Entertainment. The surprise flops would be Amazing X-Men Annual #1 and Guardians of the Galaxy Prelude #2, both from Marvel Comics, and Godstorm: Age of Darkness from Zenescope Entertainment. Comics that I expected to be great, such as Angel & Faith Season 10 #3 from Dark Horse Comics and Original Sin #3 from Marvel Comics, and Green Arrow #32 from DC Comics, were absolutely solid and continued a very strong run ever since I started reading the title last year.
Image Comics has so many ongoings and mini-series in production at any given time that it is really hard to stick with all of them, unless you read only Image I guess, in which case it might be better for you. I only read a very small handful of titles, and mostly ones I really like, so I have some leeway, though I read all across the spectrum from most of the major publishers, so I can’t accommodate as many different series as I’d like in my weekly reading. Still, when I hear news of special issues and/or one-shots, then my curiosity is always piqued, and I just have to give them a chance.
With this past week’s Chew/Revival #1, a one-shot apparently, we get one such comic. This one is apparently a crossover between the Chew and the Revival series, and I have to say, this was pretty damn rocking. Tony Chu, Dana Cybpress and Ibrahaim Ramin are all fantastic characters and I loved every moment of this issue. The humour is ever-present and that really sells the whole thing, especially the half done by the Chew time, and I find Tony’s particular skills to be quite unique. On the flipside, all the goings-on of the Revival team in their own story are pretty damn fun too. One of the best comics I’ve read for sure!
It certainly is no secret that making it past double digits is an immense challenge for comics these days, what with all the relaunches and reboots that seem to happen every now and then. But when a title has been going on for almost two decades, almost without interruption, that’s when you know that things are going good. Last year Ron Marz and Laura Braga created a new jump-on point for new readers of Witchblade with #170 and they did it with little fanfare but lots of awesome. And they’ve been going at it ever since, turning out one good story after another.
Witchblade celebrated its 175th issue last week and again, this was all without fanfare. I actually didn’t know that issue #175 was going to be a special anniversary issue with more than twice the content until I picked up the issue and started reading. Ron and Laura wrapped up their first arc on the series last month and now they delve into new territory as they explore some of the more ephemeral and psychological aspects of the Witchblade, and the bonus content rocked from start to finish as well, including a short story from a completely different creative team.
I expanded my reading of Valiant Comics’ various titles last month with the release of Rai #1, written by Matt Kindt and drawn by Clayton Crain. It presented a future vision of a high-tech Japan that sits high up in Earth’s orbit, a massive floating landmass that is pretty much locked out from space so that the people can continue to survive as they will. It is a very different Japan than I’d thought it’d be, and the series hero Rai is a big part of all that. The first issue got off to quite a decent start and I’ve been waiting for the second issue since.
As someone who loves dark and gritty stories, Rai #1 was right up my alley and the same holds true for last week’s Rai #2 as well. It picks up from where the debut issue left off and then it continues along on an (almost) high-speed chase that sees Rai travel all over Japan hunting for the answers that he needs. And in the midst of all that, Matt Kindt references other Valiant characters like Dr. Silk and the Eternal Warrior, presenting a shared universe, which was pretty good. And Clayton Crain’s art is slightly better as well, so that was welcome too.