Despite some interest in Transformers comics last year, mainly in Chris Metzen’s Transformers: Autocracy, I never really took the full dip. I read a few scattered issues here and there but that’s about it. Nothing concrete. And then a few weeks IDW announced that following the intense Dark Cybertron story arc there would be a new mini-series coming up that would focus on some of the characters introduced in this arc, namely Chromia and Windblade, both of whom are female Cybertronians. That alone was enough to peak my interest since, throughout my viewing of numerous Transformers cartoons over the years, only two or three such characters have stood out. Which is a shame.
Transformers: Windblade began last week with its #1 issue and I have to say that it is one of the best #1s I’ve read to date. Writer Mairghread Scott delivers a character-driven story with lots of action that touches upon several aspects of the Transformers universe and does a great job of introducing characters like Chromia and Windblade to a new reader. Plus, the artwork by Sarah Stone is pretty damn amazing too, making it one of the most beautiful comics on shelves right now.
If last week was an incredible week, then I don’t know what this week was! Probably the most comics I’ve read in a single week, to date. And pretty much across all genres too, so that’s something. I love a good reading week like this, especially when I manage to review as much as I did as well. Which is pretty freaking great.
At the moment, I’m working on catching up to Star Wars: Legacy II by Corinna Bechko and Garbriel Hardman while also finishing up my read-through of the entire Forever Evil: Blight event, which should be sometime tonight. And then after that, still lots of comics to catch up on, a hell of a lot. The lists keep getting longer and longer each week!
This was a pretty incredible week, I must say. In addition to all the usual new releases I ended up reading, I also began my re-read/catch-up of DC’s Forever Evil: Blight event. Since I wasn’t reading the Constantine and Pandora titles for this event, I ended up missing out on a fair bit of story, and this catch-up is intended to fix that. Consequently, I read more than I usually do, except when I manage to read trades, if you count it like that. Still, the overall experience was pretty incredible, so there is that.
Thankfully, most of the comics I read this week were excellent, as evidenced by the fact that I picked a top 7 instead of a top 6 this time, on account of all that I read. If you read any of these, let me know!
Last month writer Jim Zub and artist Andy Suriano ended their first arc on the relaunched Samurai Jack comics from IDW with quite a bang. Together, the two of them delivered a pretty fantastic story that spoke to the fans of the original animated series and which was essentially a huge 5-month long nostalgia trip. For sure, those five issues are among the best comics I’ve read in the last two years since I got back into comics, and Samurai Jack has certainly been a bright spot in my IDW reading. And now, this week Jim Zub began his second arc, with artist Brittney Williams this time.
After the over the top time-travel story of the first arc, Jim Zub goes into this new arc and brings Jack face to face with an old friend, the Scotsman. He was one of the most fun members of Jack’s supporting cast on the animated series, and it is great to finally meet him again, in this form. Plus, Brittney’s art is damn good too. It reflects the grace of the animated series and given how the story plays out, she leaves her own mark on the title, which is extra cool.
And so we come to it. The final installment of Jim Zub’s first arc on Samurai Jack. At least, I think this is the final installment, considering how the story here plays out. Its been one hell of a ride thus far and Jim Zub, along with artists Andy Suriano and Josh Burcham and Shawn Lee has done some great work. The previous four issues have been intensely enjoyable, largely in part because the stories and the art have stayed true to the original concept of the Samurai Jack setting, which is a pretty huge plus as far as I am concerned.
With issue #5 we see how Jack’s quest to find all the threads of time and rewound the Rope of Eons plays out to its conclusion. Jack has fought numerous monsters and villains to get to this point and now, finally, he is on his way to collect the final thread, which is in the possession of none other than Aku himself, Jack’s greatest nemesis, and the one responsible for removing him from his time in the first place. All the things that I wanted from this issue, I got, because Jim understands the setting and the characters, and because the artists are just so damn good in every possible way.
Today, IDW’s Khan mini-series comes to a close. It has been an interesting ride thus far as the creators attempted to do a new spin on this classic character given that the current Star Trek movies have rebooted the entire universe and last year’s Star Trek: Into Darkness thus gave us a new Khan for this reboot. The first two issues of the series were quite decent, largely because it was all setup to lead into the meat of the story. The third and fourth issues however have proven to be not as good and the story has pretty much just dragged along.
And now we have the fifth and final issue, wrapping everything up. My complaints from the previous two reviews still exist. The art is off, the characterisation is… also off. I don’t know. I just couldn’t get into this at all. But, it was kind of nice that everything was wrapped up for the most part. But still, I get the feeling that there just hasn’t been enough room to explore the entire story in just five issues. It is simply too intricate!
As part of my “end of year” lists for 2013, I did a post recently for The Founding Fields where I mentioned the 5 best new comics of the year. Jim Zub and Andy Suriano’s Samurai Jack from IDW made it pretty high on that list and for good reason. It is a damn amazing series that I’ve enjoyed from day one and the creators have really taken me on a bittersweet nostalgia trip with it. Seeing Jack back again like this was a highlight of the previous year and with Samurai Jack #4 it looks like the creators are starting the year off with a bang.
The previous issues have had a big mix of situations for Jack to tackle. Outright villains, outright villainy, subtle emotional subtext and more has all been seen so far. Samurai Jack #4 goes back to basics somewhat, presenting a clear target for the hero to take down and prove his worth once more in his quest to rewound the Rope of Eons so that he can return to his own time. And of course, the art is amazing as always, most of all the colours, which were just brilliant altogether.
The wind-up has now begun. In October IDW started this new tie-in series to this year’s Star Trek: Into Darkness and its been an interesting ride of sorts. The first two issues were quite decent and I kind of did enjoy them to a fair degree, but the third issue wasn’t so good. It was sort of expected I suppose, since this is an origin series, and there is a lot of ground for writer Mike Johnson to cover here. That was indeed one of the problems with issue #3 since it pretty much moved through the entire story at a very fast clip.
The new issue does thing slightly different. It tells a more focused story, for starters, but the art is still a bit off, largely in terms of how the characters are drawn, their faces particularly. This is the penultimate issue of this mini-series, since issue #5 next month is the end and we will, hopefully, get to the beginning of the movie itself and see how things were brought to that state with Khan, or rather, John Harrison as he was known in the first half of the movie.