With everything going on right now, I had doubts whether I’d be able to get through many comics this week but it seems that this was indeed the week where I surprised myself in a big way. Not only did I catch up on quite a few new titles, but I also managed to read two graphic novels this week, one of them at almost 300 pages no less!
The surprise hits of this week were Doctor Who: Eleventh Doctor #2 from Titan Comics, Judge Dredd: Anderson, Psi-Division #2 from IDW Publishing and Inhuman #5 from Marvel Comics. This week’s surprise flops were Caliban #6 from Avatar Press, Grim Tales of Terror #3 from Zenescope, and Superman Unchained #8 from DC Comics. Of the others, they were mostly great, and I loved that both G.I. Joe Volume 1 and Witchblade Volume 3 are among my absolute favourite graphic novel reads of the year!
I got hooked on to the Judge Dredd experience back in late 2011 when I had (mis)fortune of watching the Sylvester Stallone-starrer. It was a rough experience to be sure, but soon after that I took a dip back in when I started listening to Big Finish’s Judge Dredd audios and when I saw the rebooted movie Dredd, starring Karl Urban, which was much, much better of an experience than the original movie. I also experimented with IDW’s Judge Dredd comics in 2012, and then with the original ones from 2000AD last year, and one thing has been clear to me: I really do love Judge Cassandra Anderson a hell of a lot.
And now IDW has launched a new series, starring none other than Anderson, the coolest and most kickass Psi-Judge in the Big Meg. Judge Dredd: Anderson, Psi-Division charts the early years of Judge Anderson’s service as part of the Mega City One Justice Department. For someone looking to get into the world of Judge Dredd, this would be a great start I think because of how approachable Matt Smith’s writing is, and also because of how good the art by Carl Critchlow is. The first two issues are the first half of an arc, and there is certainly a lot here to like.
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..
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.
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.