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 Hexed, John Carter: Warlord of Mars, Batman: Eternal, Birthright, Prometheus: 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.
The fourth book cover I pick for the 2014 edition of “12 Days of Best Covers of…” is for Josh Reynolds’ Gotrek & Felix: The Serpent Queen, which was published in late March this year and is one of the best books I’ve read all year, indisputably. Josh’ take on Warhammer Fantasy’s most famous heroic duo is very different from that of his counterpart David Guymer, being much more quirky and fun for starters, and that approach is exactly why I love his work so much, in general. And The Serpent Queen stands tall among all the other work he has done for Black Library, which is saying something since pretty much all of it is top-notch, all of that I’ve read that is.
The fourth set of comic covers I pick this year are for Transformers: Windblade #1 by Mairghread Scott, Sarah Stone and Chris Mowry, with the cover done by Casey W. Coller, and the second one is for King Conan: The Conqueror #3 by Timothy Truman, Tomás Giorello, José Villarrubia and Richard Starkings of Comicraft, with the cover done by Tomás and José. The former was the first of a new mini-series from IDW that has since led to the upcoming release of an ongoing featuring the titular character, and since the mini-series was top-notch, I’m really looking forward to that one. The latter was the latest in a series of comics adaptations of novels from Robert E. Howard, carrying on the story of The Hour of The Dragon, and proved to be immensely good.
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.
Recently, there have been signs on IDW’s Samurai Jack that Jim Zub and Andy Suriano’s current arc, The Quest of the Broken Blade, has been moving towards a big, epic showdown. In a story that saw Jack’s trusty blade broken during a powerful ritual to send him back to his own time, we have seen Jack being a hero, being a desperate refugee, and having his worthiness in being the keeper of an ancient sword tested by some truly god-like cosmic beings. With each issue of the arc, I’ve been more and more impressed by the team, and the last issue ended on a pretty big cliffhanger.
The way I read it, Samurai Jack #15 is the end of the current arc, and it is an explosive showdown all the way. Just 2 weeks ago, in Samurai Jack #14, we saw that three cosmic deities tested Jack’s devotion to his beliefs, and his worthiness of being a warrior of the light. And just as the test was drawing to a close, Aku found the hero, setting up a huge confrontation. Now, we see how this big battle plays out as Jack proves himself yet again, proves that he is indeed a worthy successor to his father, who possessed that self-same sword before him. Both Jim’s writing and Andy’s art is incredible here in a way that I have not yet seen on the series before.
With the current arc on Samurai Jack, Jim Zub has been exploring Jack’s past and how he got his fabled sword, a weapon that has been his constant companion on his dark journey to get back to his own time and defeat Aku once and for all. With the blade broken during a ritual to short-cut Jack’s journey, Jim has explored how the character has been reduced, and all the strange trials that await him now, which include him having to prove his worth to the glorious beings who created the blade in the first place and gifted it to his father.
In Samurai Jack #14, Jim shows exactly how Jack is tested by these supreme beings who stand as the grand judges of a cosmic battle between good and evil. And it is as brilliant issue as any of Jim’s other issues have been in this series. It is a beautifully executed issue that focuses exclusively on Jack, taking a look at everything he has learned in his life, and how he can move on from the dark events that surround him. Also, Andy Suriano, Ethen Beavers and Josh Burcham turn out another awesome-looking issue that really makes you feel at peace at times and is all about the details rather than the overall picture.
Getting on a roll again, this week I managed to repeat the “Magic 40″ with 2 graphic novels and 38 singles, with many of the latter being absolutely new series, so that was a lot of fun for the most part.
My top picks for the surprise hits of the week would be Archer & Armstrong: One Percent #1 from Valiant Comics, Deep State #1 from Boom Studios, Django/Zorro #1 from Dynamite Entertainment and Vertigo Comics, and The Kitchen #1 from Vertigo Comics also. The most disappointing comics of this week were Captain America and the Mighty Avengers #1 and Death of Wolverine: Logan Legacy #4 both from Marvel Comics, New 52 – Batman #36 from DC Comics and Grimm Fairy Tales: Cfinderella #1 from Zenescope Entertainment. Other than that, the regularly great titles like Hexed, Fables, New Suicide Squad, Red Sonja and Unity all proved to be immensely fun.
The graphic novels for this week were King Conan: The Hour of The Dragon by Timothy Truman, Tomás Giorello and Jose Villarrubia, and Fables Volume 5 by Bill Willingham, Tony Akins, Jimmy Palmiotti, Daniel Vozzo, Todd Klein, James Jean, Mark Buckingham, Steve Leialoha.
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.
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.
IDW’s Samurai Jack has been a great continuation of an animated series that I feel had an entirely too short a life. I’ve said many times before that the animated series was one of the best programmings that did Cartoon Network did in the early 2000s, easily borne out by the fact that the show went on to win quite a few awards. Jim Zub and Andy Suriano’s run, along with the occasional guest artists, have continued in that same award-winning tradition, making Samurai Jack one of the best comics on shelves right now, which really is all that anyone could have asked for when the series debuted last year.
Recently, Jack’s war against Aku has taken a dramatic turn. His sword lies broken and useless, and with its loss has come a time of ascendancy for Aku since the Jack is divested of his greatest ally and instrument. It was a heartbreaking moment indeed and in last month’s issue we got to see some of the consequences of this. Samurai Jack #13 is more of the same but it also moves the story forward in a great way, and I really liked what Jim did here. Andy Suriano is back on pencilling duties for this arc, with additional art by Ethan Beavers here, and this is another strong installment in a really strong series.
After two rather dreary weeks of reading comics, where I didn’t manage to hit my recent highs of 40 singles/graphic novels a week, this week was much different. I got back on track for one, and moved through three entire volumes of DC’s Earth 2, almost catching up to the current status of the series.
The surprise hits of this week were Blood Queen Annual 2014 from Dynamite Entertainment, Deadpool’s Art of War #1 from Marvel Comics and Trinity of Sin #1 from DC Comics. The comics that disappointed me this week were Wytches #1 from Image Comics and Death of Wolverine: Logan Legacy #1 from Marvel Comics. Of the other titles, the ones that I really loved were recent ongoings like Flash Gordon #6, Unity #0 or even Ms. Marvel #9.
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.
New York Comic Con is an event that I’ve been wanting to attend for the last two years, but haven’t been able to find an opportunity until now. There’s always something that comes up and throws a kink in the plans. From all I’ve heard, it is also a much better con-experience than San Diego Comic Con since it is much more focused on comics, unlike its bigger cousin which has become dominated in recent times by genre television shows and by Hollywood. Besides, SDCC is a much tougher Con to get into in the first place, which is why I’d love to attend NYCC more than anything else.
Living the Con experience through news that filters out of it and about it, IDW Publishing yesterday released info on its Con exclusives. In recent years Con exclusives have become a bigger and bigger thing, especially at the larger Cons so that the publishers are able to attract more foot-traffic and what not. Te exclusives run the gamut of everything, and IDW is also offering some really cool and awesome covers as well, and I like the look of them If I could, I would totally get some of them. Anyway, here’s what’s IDW offering this year at New York Comic Con 2014.