In recent years, IDW Publishing has stepped up with its full force to present some of the best television tie-in comics out there. Dark Horse has been the top-dog in that niche for a good long while, but IDW has focused on altogether different things, and has proved its mettle. Animated series like Samurai Jack and My Little Pony or live-action tie-ins like True Blood and Star Trek have proven that IDW has got what it takes, and with the onset of San Diego Comic Con this week, it was a surety that IDW would announce some new titles, and that it would all be exciting to say the least.
The latest scoop is that IDW is going to start publishing Orphan Black comics as soon as early spring next year, hopefully in the first few months itself. I’ve just recently started watching the show myself, and I’ve grown to love it despite an initial hurdle. Tatiana Maslany has been fantastic on the show, what little I’ve seen of it, and the scripts are wonderfully complex and linear at the same time, so that provides a nice overall experience. In fact, if you are not watching the show, then I would certainly recommend it. A contemporary sci-fi show headlined by a woman in multiple roles and that has just been renewed for a third season!
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!
Sometimes I wonder if I unnecessarily torture myself by reading as many comics as I do, especially of late. After all, jumping on various events at a mid-point or something similar can often leave you a bit disoriented but masochist that I am, I just can’t resist. And that was kind of the case when I picked up Transformers: Windblade back in April. The first and second issues were both great in story and art but since I’d missed out on the Dark Cybertron arc, I didn’t know all the facts going in. Still, the series was one helluva read and the wait for the third issue has been long and arduous.
At the end of the previous issue we saw Windblade, our kickass and awesome protagonist, and her allies go up against the Terrorcons and confront them about all the bad mojo going on with the Titan Metroplex, who converted himself to City-Mode at the end of Dark Cybertron to provide a safe haven for the surviving Autobots, Decepticons and more. Mairghread Scott’s writing has been incredible from the start and this issue is no different in that regard. The same can be said of Sarah Stone’s equally incredible artwork as well, with the art being one of the true high-points of this mini-series.
After a two-parter focusing on gender-bending Jack and the Samurai Jack stalwart the Scotsman, Jim Zub and Andy Suriano got back together to tell a really amazing silent issue. I haven’t really read silent issues before, and I think this one was my first, and I was blown away. A lot of the legwork was done by Andy Suriano and Josh Burcham, but the story was still Jim’s and he knocked it out of the park quite handsomely. And what I loved was that the threat of Aku being everywhere and doing his best to throw Jack off his scent was ever-present in this issue in a great way.
This week’s Samurai Jack #9 isn’t a silent issue per se, but it comes quite close indeed and I have to say that it is a pretty daring piece of storytelling daring, to have two silent issues back to back like this. Letterer Shawn Lee gets to do some good work this time and he doesn’t disappoint in the slightest. But really, at its heart, this is a true Samurai Jack story and it is also refreshing to see another guest artist here, Ethen Beavers as penciller, so we get to see yet another fresh take on the whole Samurai Jack craze.
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.
After all the heavy reading of the previous weeks, this past week proved to be a little less intensive, but not by much. The only real difference this time was that I didn’t get to read any graphic novels or trades. And I only just managed to read all these comics anyways because things are getting hectic here with all the marriage preparations, not to mention the court marriage I had the other day (yes, officially married now!). So yeah, things are just a little bit really hectic.
The surprise hits of this week were 7th Sword #1 from IDW Publishing, Harley Quinn #6 from DC Comics, and Dejah of Mars #1 from Dynamite Entertainment. The surprise flops would be Batman #31 and The Flash #31, both from DC Comics, both of them quite disappointing in that the arcs do not make sense anymore and I’m really turned off of them. Comics that I expected to be great, such as Ms. Marvel #4 from Marvel and Thanos Annual 2014, also from Marvel, and Future’s End #4 from DC Comics, were all good, amongst others. So a nice spread of everything, as usual.
With their first arc on Samurai Jack, writer Jim Zub and artist Andy Suriano delivered something truly wonderful, recalling all the best aspects of the Genndy Tartakovsky-created original animated series. And then, in the last few months, we’ve seen guest artist Brittney Williams deliver her own take on things as she tackled a story where Samurai Jack and the Scotsman are gender-swapped. All the issues of this arc were really great and I became a Brittney Williams fan. Now it looks like we are back to the serialised stories, and that’s fine with me too.
Samurai Jack #8 is an issue where we see Aku getting up to his old tricks again. As you can now doubt see from the cover, Samurai Jack ends up fighting his own doppelgangers and it truly is an amazing issue as Jim and Andy deliver on some really excellent action that is typical Samurai Jack. And more than that, there is also a very surprising twist to the entire story, something we really haven’t seen in this series to date, and that’s what makes this issue really, really good.
Being only passingly conversant with IDW’s Transformers comics range, but having spent the last eight year immersing myself in various animated adaptations and the ongoing movie series, Transformers: Windblade #1 offered something refreshingly new last month. In addition to introducing a really fun new character, a female-bot no less, the first issue was a rather great starting point for an intro to Cybertron’s new status quo. I didn’t read the Dark Cybertron arc that preceded the current comics, but having read this particular first issue, I was all interested to do that, although I haven’t yet found the time for it.
Transformers: Windblade #2 came out this week and it has proven to be just as good as the first issue. More than that, this issue is also a part mystery story, and I really liked that aspect of it. Plus, who can say no to Starscream being portrayed as a cool, intelligence and cunning supervillain? I certainly can’t. He’s always been portrayed as a bumbling fool and this series gives me a different portrayal that I like. And watching Windblade and her friend Chromia stand up to that smug Decepticon is one of the greatest joys of this comic. Mairghread Scott’s writing is really superb in this issue, as is the artwork by Sarah Stone.