Stjepan Sejic is one of the best artists in the business, that’s for sure. Undeniable. But the question is, is he also a good writer? That’s what last year’s Ravine and this year’s Death Vigil, not to mention his fun series Twitch (Teen Witchblade) has been trying to answer. While my first run-in with Ravine wasn’t so good, Death Vigil #1 took me by surprise last year and set a pretty high standard where comedy supernatural horror is concerned. Stejpan both wrote and drew the comic and it proved to be one of the absolute best issues that I’ve read all year and the start of something great.
Released this past week, Death Vigil #2 continues from where the first one left off and we meet up with Bernie, Sam and Clara attempt to wind-down after the events of the first issue, which was almost twice the length of a regular issue at that! Previously, we saw a few glimpses of Sam’s previous life, before he died and became a member of the Death Vigil, not to mention Clara’s own origin as a member, so this time Stjepan focuses on the second half of that tale. We see exactly how Sam finally joined and how he and Bernie convince Clara as well. It was a pretty damn good issue, both in terms of the story and the art.
Red Sonja’s recent resurgence as one of the most kickass and badass female characters in comics reached a milestone recently when the new comic celebrated its first year of publication. It is kind of awesome that it has already been a year that Gail Simone and Walter Geovani have been helming the new series and to such success too. Their current arc on the title has proven to be exceptionally good and though the recent Red Sonja #0 was a bit of a speed-bump (Noah Salonga was the artist rather than Walter), with this week’s new release the series is back on track and quite handsomely at that.
Red Sonja #11 is the penultimate issue of Gail and Walter’s second arc on the title. Sonja has traveled far and wide to accomplish her latest mission, and as it draws to a close, we see some of the writer and artist’s best work to date. Sonja in this issue is very introspective and thoughtful, with lots to offer through her internal monologue and her actions. In this issue she has to face up to one of her fears and she does so handsomely, in typical Gail Simone-written style that has become the norm for this series and I couldn’t be happier. It also helps that Walter and colourist Adriano Lucas are stunning in this issue!
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.
Conan the Barbarian, Conan the Cimmerian. These are the more popular names of the sword-and-sorcery hero Conan who has been a trend-setter for many decades now, his popularity itself going up and down a fair bit. Not all are familiar with King Conan however, from a time when Conan was no longer just a warrior and a mercenary but a ruler with far lands to call his own, with subjects, with a queen even. I started reading King Conan: The Conqueror from the mini-series’ first issue a few months back and it has been one of the most entertaining Conan stories I’ve read to date. Certainly among the best, by far.
King Conan: The Conqueror #6 marks the end of this mini-series and also of the story that began back in King Conan: The Hour of The Dragon. Now, everything that Conan has been through in the past five issues comes to a resounding (and somewhat obvious) conclusion and really, it could not have been better. Truman and Giorello take the reader for a ride through Aquilonia and beyond, and all along the way they are as impressive as they’ve ever been in this series. No doubt about that. This particular mini-series is certainly going down in my list as one of the best Conan stories I’ve read to date.
Every month I wait for a Red Sonja comic to show up on Comixology, hoping that each issue is as awesome as the last, or even better. Gail Simone and Walter Geovani have certainly not disappointed. The quality of the series has flipped-flopped just the slightest bit but it has definitely one of the best series that I’ve read to date, and the fun thing is that the series hit its one-year mark last month. It has been a hell of a ride, I can tell you that. And the current ongoing arc has delivered some of the best story and some of the best art to date, so each month is a time of anticipation for the latest Red Sonja to land in my cart.
Instead of a (regular) 11th issue, the fifth issue of the current arc that is, we got treated to a #0 issue last month. The odd timing of the zero issue aside, especially since it doesn’t have anything to do with the current arc, I think that this was a fun little side adventure for Sonja and her current creators, to lighten up the mood a little and present something much different than the current events. All fine by me. The story here is pretty decent and so is the art, so I am certainly not complaining. Seeing a new artist present her take on Red Sonja was great, so that’s a grand reason too.
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!
This post is coming in at a slightly later time than I’d prefer, about two weeks late at least, but I guess I can’t really “complain” when the lateness is due to my own wedding which took place exactly two weeks ago on the 5th. It has certainly been a very busy and intense time, what with being engrossed in all the marriage stuff and then even after that there’s been one thing after another. Reading time has definitely suffered greatly, which makes me a little sad considering how much I love reading, but eh, all for a good cause really.
With half the year now over, it is time to do the first of my “Best of the Year” posts, for the period 1st January to 30th June. There’s been a ton of books that I’ve read in this period as usual, and I made a very strong effort to read more tie-in fiction than I usually do, so the list is most assuredly going to reflect that. Tie-in fiction is a very important part of the publishing industry I feel and it always deserves some recognition. Now if we could only get an award started that celebrated tie-in fiction and all would be alright with the world. Or so my thinking goes.
Let’s see what makes the cut and which comes close then!