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Comics Picks For 29.10.2014

Hit the almost-magic number of 35 once again and though I have yet to repeat my personal best of 40, I think this was my best week regardless since I managed to read 31 singles and 4 graphic novels. That definitely counts as an achievement, yes?

My surprise hits for this week would be Tales of Honor #1 from Top Cow, Swamp Thing Annual #3 from DC, Inhuman #7, Death of Wolverine: Deadpool & Captain America #1  and Deathlok #1 all from Marvel. Those that count among this week’s top disappointments would be Conan the Avenger #7 from Dark Horse. Justice League United Annual #1 from DC. Others like Grimm Fairy Tales: Realm War #4 and Grimm Fairy Tales: Robyn Hood #3 from Zenescope, Wayward #3 from Image, The Flash Volume 2 from DC, and a bunch of others were as good as I expected them to be, probably better even.

The graphic novels for this week were Supergirl Volume 4 by Michael Alan Nelson and Diogenes Neves, The Flash Volume 2 by Brian Buccellato and Francis Manapul, Krypton Returns by Various and Thanos: The Infinity Revelation by Jim Starlin.

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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Grimm Fairy Tales: Robyn Hood #3 (Comics Review)

When Zenescope decided to move forward the clock on all of its main titles to a year after the events of Grimm Fairy Tales #100, with the intervening time being covered in the Realm War: Age of Darkness mini-series, it was a pretty great decision for the publisher. It allowed for new stories to be told with new characters without the express baggage of an event that had been going on almost a year, and now here we are. I’m not sure what exactly is the continuity of this new Robyn Hood title, but I don’t really care since Pat Shand and Claudia Balboni have been hitting up almost all the right notes with this.

Robyn Hood #3 is the end of the first arc of this new ongoing series, and it brings things to a rather satisfying conclusion as far as I’m concerned. Pat Shand moves things along at a very brisk pace but that also allows him to setup some future arcs, and introduce the big bad villains as well, so that’s not a big point of contention. Marion and Robyn kicked a lot of ass in this issue, and it was really fun to see the two of them bond together in the end. The art is a bit too clean and lacking hard texture, but it was still good, especially the fight scenes in, about, the middle third of the isse.

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Pathfinder: City of Secrets #3-6 (Comics Review)

One of Jim Zub’s many new projects this year, Pathfinder: City of Secrets is also a continuation of his earlier run on Pathfinder for Dynamite, if I’m not mistaken. I haven’t read that previous series, but the new one has definitely managed to capture my attention since despite some of the stumbles of the first two issues, I’ve managed to stay current month after month. Pathfinder is primarily an RPG tabletop gaming setting, but with Jim’s comics, the setting has gained a different perspective altogether and the stories so far have definitely been quite interesting..

The first couple issues of Pathfinder: City of Secrets did a lot of work in establishing the characters and the setting. Some of it didn’t work out as well as I’d expected, but I won’t deny that the story did draw me in. Jim Zub’s adventurers are a fun lot to be with and given that each of them is a very distinct and unique individual, their shared adventures really do stand out as well. In the city of Magnimar for a lay-off from their adventures, the heroes get drawn into a big mystery that gains steam in the third issue and then ends, for the time being, in this week’s sixth issue. The story has steadily gotten better, and so has the artwork as well.

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Comics Picks For 22.10.2014

Slight lows on the reading this past week since I didn’t manage to finish either of the graphic novels I started this week, and generally didn’t read as many singles either, but I did manage to get through 35 of them, so that’s something, yeah?

For this week, I’d say that the surprise hits are Dungeons & Dragons: Legends of Baldur’s Gate #1 from IDW Publishing, Catwoman #35 and Secret Origins #6 from DC Comics and Predator: Fire and Stone #1 from Dark Horse Comics. The comics that win the “disappointment of the week award” are Grimm Fairy Tales: Dark Shaman #1 from Zenescope, Arkham Manor #1 and Sensation Comics #11 both from DC Comics. Ongoings like Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 10 #8, Aquaman #35, Tomb Raider #9 and Nancy A. Collins’ prelude Vampirella: Prelude To The Shadows #1 were all first-rate comics this week, and quite satisfactory as well.

The graphic novels I’m in the middle of at the moment are Supergirl Vol.4 by Michael Alan Nelson and Diogenes Neves, and The Flash Vol.2 by Brian Buccellato and Francis Manapul.

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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Dungeons & Dragons: Legends of Baldur’s Gate #1 (Comics Review)

A lot of the things that today we take for granted in epic fantasy wouldn’t really exist if it wasn’t for Dungeons & Dragons four decades ago. Sure, the genre has existed for much longer and J. R. R. Tolkien gave rise to many of the staples and tropes of the genre, but D&D basically revolutionized the genre, and here we are in 2014, where that one tabletop RPG has spawned countless comics, video games, novels, and ever more expansions, even a couple of movies. And this is the year for the 40th celebration of Dungeons & Dragons, so it makes sense that Wizards of the Coast would do something special for that anniversary.

And one of the many ways in which the celebration begins is by a new Dungeons & Dragons comic, Legends of Baldur’s Gate, written by popular fantasy writer Jim Zub. Jim, who also writes Dynamite’s Pathfinder and IDW’s Samurai Jack tie-in comics, among many other titles, delivers a really easy-going, cheeky and fun story in Legends of Baldur’s Gate #1, creating an interesting mystery of missing siblings and magic gone haywire. Max Dunbar’s visuals are also very impressive though a bit simplistic at times, but all things considered, this was definitely an aces issue.

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Comics Picks For 08.10.2014

This week turned out to be even less productive on the reading front than the previous one, mostly because we had some guests over this weekend, and I was busy entertaining them for the duration of their stay rather than focusing on my reading as is usual. As such, I only got done through 24 singles and a single graphic novel. But thankfully most of them were good, so there’s that at least, and I’m still reading more now than I was reading last year.

The surprise hits of this week were Birthright #1 from Image Comics, Charmed Season 10 #1 from Zenescope Entertainment and Batman #35  from DC Comics. The comics that disappointed me this week were Avengers & X-Men: Axis #1 from Marvel Comics, Caliban #7 from Avatar Press, and The Death-Defying Doctor Mirage #2 from Valiant Comics. Of the other titles, the ones that I really loved were recent ongoings like New Suicide Squad #3X-O Manowar #0 or even Death Vigil #4.

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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Upcoming: The Labyrinth of Flame by Courtney Schafer

One of my favourite reads of 2012 was Courtney Schafer’s debut novel The Whitefire Crossing (review). One of the unique things about it was how a significant portion of the novel focused on mountain-climbing and mountain-trekking, borne out of Courtney’s own fondness and hobby of such. Then again last year, when I read The Tainted City (review), I was similarly impressed. Courtney built upon the characters and the setting in a really nice way and she made both novels a worthy experience. For that reason she is one of my favourite authors in fantasy.

With Night Shade Books going under last year, the fate of her third novel, The Labyrinth of Flame was totally up in the air, since there was no word if the third novel would even be published. But it looks now that Courtney finally has her strategy ready, and next year will see the launch of a kickstarter for the novel, which I am very excited about.

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Van Horstmann by Ben Counter (Book Review)

Another one of Ben Counter’s recent (and great!) works, Van Horstmann is part of the Warhammer Heroes range, though that branding isn’t in use anymore and hasn’t been for a while either. This was also his first novel for Warhammer Fantasy and he proved himself to be a master given that his characters and the story and the magical action and everything were pretty top-notch. There are reasons why this novel made it to my “Best of 2013 Part 1” list and the above are some of them. If you want to read a standalone Warhammer Fantasy novel that also deals with magic and magical brotherhoods to a great degree, then Van Horstmann should be your first stop, without a doubt!

This review is a repost of the original review on The Founding Fields, which can be found here.

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Comics Picks For 24.09.2014

Lightning strikes in the same place for a third time. I mentioned last week that I read 38 singles and 2 graphic novels for that release week, and that holds true for this week as well. I had a chance to read a bit more, but I chose to use that time to get done with some of my novel reading and also catch up with some of my reviews. 15 titles out of 40 read were reviewed by me this week. I feel good!

The surprise hits of this week were Aliens: Fire and Stone #1 and Prometheus: Fire and Stone #1, both from Dark Horse Comics, Pathfinder: City of Secrets #5 from Dynamite Entertainment, Catwoman: Future’s End #1 from DC Comics, Hack-Slash: Son of Samhain #2 and Chew Volume 1  both from Image Comics. Comics which disappointed me this week were Edge of Spider-Verse #3 from Marvel Comics, Sensation Comics #7 from DC Comics, and… that’s it thankfully! The graphic novels of this week were Chew Volume 1 and Thor: God of Thunder Volume 3.

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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Grimm Fairy Tales: Robyn Hood #1-2 (Comics Review)

Thanks to Zenescope’s massive Age of Darkness crossover event that has been running since late last year, I came to know about their Robyn Hood comics, which feature Robyn Locksley as the publisher’s take on the Robin Hood tales. All the Robyn Hood comics I’ve read to date have been quite fun to read and in the Age of Darkness event I think that she has really come into her own, especially in the current Realm War: Age of Darkness series which is positioning her as a major villain. In the wake of the landmark Grimm Fairy Tales #100 issue, one of the new series launched by Zenescope is a Robyn Hood ongoing, something I’ve been wanting to see for a while now.

Before the advent of the new Robyn Hood ongoing, the character featured only in three 5-issue mini-series and a small handful of one-shots or ensemble offerings here and there. But now she has her own title and it really couldn’t be coming at a better time for her. Pat Shand guides the character in a post-Age of Darkness world where Robyn has taken on a vigilante aspect along with her friend Marian, where they’ve started working out as private investigators specializing in the mystical. It is kind of like how Angel did things in Joss Whedon’s Angel. It is fun, it is quirky, and Robyn and Marian are both awesomely kickass.

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Trinity Rising by Elspeth Cooper (Book Review)

Trinity Rising is Elspeth Cooper’s 2012 sequel to her 2011 debut Songs of the Earth, and is the second novel in her Wild Hunt epic fantasy series. Going into the novel, I had quite high expectations of it since the debut was a fairly strong debut novel on its own and was one of my better reading experiences in that year. But Trinity Rising failed a number of my expectations and it ended up being nowhere near as good as its predecessor. Still, my interest in the Wild Hunt remains undimmed and I’m planning on reading the third novel soon, so we shall see how it all goes.

This review is a repost of the original review on The Founding Fields, which can be found here.

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Songs of the Earth by Elspeth Cooper (Book Review)

Two and a half years ago I got it in my head to make an effort to read as many of the David Gemmell Morningstar Award shortlisted nominees as I could. Maybe it was because all these finalists were debut authors of the previous year or something, but I thought that it would be a fun little challenge to take on. One of the very first books I read as part of this impromptu challenge was Elspeth Cooper’s Songs of the Earth, which is the first in her Wild Hunt series. It ended up being a fairly interesting novel by all accounts, with a really fun magic system and some fun characters as well, so I was rather pleased with it in the end. If you want to read something different from the norm, then Songs of the Earth is definitely something to check out.

This review is a repost of the original review on The Founding Fields, which can be found here.

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