Thankfully, I’m finally settling back into the groove with comics reading and, most importantly, comics reviewing, as I managed to review a fair bit of titles this week and even caught up with reviewing some previous titles that I’ve unfortunately had to neglect for one reason or another.
The surprise hits of this week were Cartoon Network: Super Secret Crisis War: Billy and Mandy #1 from IDW Publishing, Wolverine Annual #1 from Marvel Comics and Vampirella #3 from Marvel Comics. The surprise flop of the week would be Batman: Eternal #20 from DC where the title seems headed downwards just when it was getting once again, and The Wicked + The Divine #3 from Image where the title took a nosedive this week after a second issue that was really good. No graphic novels again sadly, though I hope to correct that that this week. I hope..
Wonder Woman, as one of DC’s top three characters in terms of everything that really matters, got a second wind last week when DC launched Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman. Comics history buffs will recognize that the Amazon Princess made her debut so many damn years ago in the pages of Sensation Comics and now she’s back as DC puts out both an in-print ongoing and a digital-first comic featuring their most popular and recognizable female hero. The first issue by Gail Simone and Ethan Van Sciver was really good and I really couldn’t have asked for a better team-up for “Gothamazon“.
Sensation Comics #2 brings to a close the two-part “Gothamazon” arc, which also marks Gail and Ethan’s exit from the title for the present. The format for this series in print is going to be anthology-style, and I’m going to be a bit sad that these two fantastic creators are leaving, but all the same, at least their exit is great! The new issue is much more action-packed and it really gives you a look into Diana’s though processes and the comparisons with Batman are handled well. Plus the art is really good once again, though there were a few negatives scattered here and there, quite atypically Ethan Van Sciver.
Three years, that’s how long Gail Simone has been on DC’s New 52: Batgirl, making her the only female creator at the publisher to have stuck with a title for that long. Sure, there was the period back in December 2012 when things were uncertain and she was off the title, but she has helmed the series since its reboot regardless. And now it is coming to a close, and I find that I am not nearly ready for her to leave. Gail’s run on the title with the various artists that have come and gone has been fairly spectacular and as she leaves, she gives readers the best she had to offer with Batgirl #34.
Batgirl #34 is pretty much the end of the current creative team’s run on the title. I haven’t looked at the solicits for next month’s Future’s End special issue so I have no idea who is writing/drawing that issue, so I’m just gonna roll with that here. In the last few issues we’ve seen that Batgirl’s new nemesis Knightfall has finally begun to execute her long-held plans for Gotham into motion and that she is setting the stage for an epic war against crime and corruption in the city. Under Gail’s pen and Fernando’s pencil however, Knightfall is up against the greatest challenge of her life against Barbara Gordon aka Batgirl.
Wonder Woman is one of DC’s premier characters in the company’s long history. She has emerged over the decades as one of the most powerful and important characters in the entire DC mythos, and indeed, she forms a part of a DC Trinity alongside Batman and Superman, the three of the most central characters in DC’s main-verse. It kind of stands to reason that if Batman and Superman can sustain multiple simultaneous titles, then so can Wonder Woman. After all, she is also the most prominent of DC’s female superheroes in kids merchandise. And it seems that DC has finally listened to fans.
This week saw the release of a new digital title, Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman #1. In this title, writer Gail Simone explores the premise of what happens when Gotham’s villains take out Batman and Oracle calls in Wonder Woman to take care of matters in her friend’s sudden absence. Paired with artist Ethan Van Sciver, Gail Simone’s rendition of Wonder Woman feels very classic and unrestrained, with a lot of the character’s actionable charisma brought to the fore. This first issue is hopefully the start of something really great, something that can eventually translate into an ongoing print title!
In an effort to catch up, this is my second “Comics Picks For…” post today, and largely because I just want to keep track of my reading really. It is a real effort otherwise as my reading list is seriously outdated. Plus, I like to promote good properly and this is a great vehicle for that other than reviews. In this week, I didn’t really download any new comics so the list of comics read and the top picks are just what I read in that week, instead of including the new week’s releases as well.
The surprise hits of this week were Armor Hunters: Bloodshot #1 from Valiant Comics, The Wicked + The Divine #2 from Image COmics and Cartoon Network: Super Secret Crisis War: Johnny Bravo #1 from IDW Publishing. No surprise flops this week, just comics that didn’t work for me, like Star Wars: Darth Maul: Son of Dathomir #3. The other comics were all decent at the least and I even managed to read a trade collection this week, beginning the start of my big “Witchblade read” from Ron Marz’s epic run on the title.
As per my plans, I didn’t do one of these posts in the past 2 weeks since I was on a holiday. And a great holiday it was indeed. I didn’t get to do more than a very small handful of reviews, more like just two or three in all, but I managed to read a fair bit and kept myself on target for my comics reading.
The surprise hits of this week were Storm #1 from Marvel and Star Spangled War Stories #1 from DC Comics. The surprise flop of the week would be Batman #33 from DC Comics. Not exactly a bad comic but just a disappointing one. All the other comics were pretty much good, excepting Flash #33, where I still can’t really connect with what the new creative team is doing there. I wanted to read a trade paperback comic as well during this week, but the first few days of the vacation were very busy and all these comics were pretty much read in the last 2-3 days of the week so that didn’t happen.
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.