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 third book cover I pick for the 2014 edition of “12 Days of Best Covers of…” is for Christie Golden’s World of WarCraft tie-in novel The Shattering: Prelude To The Cataclysm. This novel marked a resurgence of my interest in reading tie-in fiction outside of Warhammer, Star Wars or Star Trek, and took me back to the days when I first read The Last Guardian and Rise of The Horde, two of the best WoW novels I’ve read to date. And since I never got to play the Cataclysm expansion properly at level, this prequel novel did much to soothe that longing.
The third set of comic covers I pick this year are for Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 10 #1 by Christos Gage and Rebekah Isaacs, with the cover done by Steve Morris, and the second one is for Superior Spider-Man Annual #2, also by Christos Gage, though he worked with pencillers Javier Rodriguez and Philippe Briones on this one, with the cover done by Michael Del Mundo. The former marked my first foray into reading Buffy comics, though I had read some of the Angel & Faith comics before that and the latter was another dip into the Superior Spider-Man territory, the premise of which I find rather intriguing, to say the least and love it as well.
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.
Last year I started a seasonal “Best of…” list that focused on some of the best covers I saw that year, whether for novels or comics. And now, it being the same time of the year in the new year, it is an opportunity to bring the list back, more so since it was really popular when I started it.
The first of these “Best of…” book covers is actually a tie between William King’s Terrarch Chronicles #2: The Serpent Tower and Django Wexler’s Shadow Campaigns #1: The Thousand Names. None of these two are 2014 publications, which is usually how I do these lists, but I wasn’t particularly taken with the covers of the two 2014 books I did read, so here we are (Though, it should be mentioned that the mass paperback of The Thousand Names came out in July’14). I’ve long been a fan of William’s work for Black Library, and Terrarch Chronicles was his first self-published work, the first novel in the series being one of my favourites last year. And with Django’s debut from last year, I’ve become a big fan of his work too and will be reading the sequel in a few days, hopefully. Looking forward to that!
The first of these “Best of…” comics covers is another tie, owing more to how many more comics I began to read this year compared to previous years, each week. And the picks are the covers for Witchblade #172 by Stjepan Sejic and for Black Widow #2 by Phil Noto. The Witchblade is a character I’ve long been a fan, specifically its bearer Sara Pezzini and with Ron Marz coming back on the title last year, it proved to be a new fun era for the title in all respects. And on Black Widow, I’ve seen some of the best content from Marvel all-year, with the new title being matched in consistency only by G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona’s Ms. Marvel.
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.
A third straight week this time without me hitting my magic 40 number, which I really regret since a ton of comics have been coming out these last two weeks, but no matter.
Anyway, My top picks for the surprise hits of the week would be Battlestar Galactica: The Death of Apollo #1 from Dynamite Entertainment, Dredd Uprise #1 from 200AD, and Swamp Thing #35-37 from DC Comics. The most disappointing comics of this week were Angela: Asgard’s Assassin #1 and Hulk #9 from Marvel Comics. Comics which continued on with a good run yet again were Alien vs. Predator: Fire and Stone #3 , Aliens: Fire and Stone #3, Grimm Fairy Tales: Realm War #5 , Death of Wolverine: The Weapon X Program #3, Inhuman #9, Gotham Academy #3 and Vampirella v2 #7 among others.
No graphic novels this past week unfortunately.
I ended up skipping last week’s Fast-Shot article since I was rather busy with real-life stuff and just did not have the time for doing it. But I stand by what I said in the previous two articles, that these reviews are a great way to work through the back-log and they let me do lots of different types of comics together in a single place. The last two reviews I’ve done for this new feature have both been pretty good ones in terms of that, and they’ve also been fairly popular, which is quite heartening to see. So, on to the reviews!
The picks for this week are: Dredd Uprise #1, Angela: Asgard’s Assassin #1, Batman: Eternal #35, Future’s End #31, Swamp Thing #35-37, and Rai #5. Another diverse line-up of titles, as always Of these, Dredd Uprise #1 is from more than a month ago I believe, one of the many comics I didn’t get around to in October, unfortunately, while Angela: Asgard’s Assassin is a new title, and Rai is returning after a significant layover, and proves to be even better with the new issue than the previous four, by a considerable margin. And with the DC titles, well, they all proved to be a very interesting lot.
Marvel’s Death of Wolverine: Weapon X Program series has been kicking along just fine since it debuted almost a month ago. Being a mini-series that explores the aftermath of Death of Wolverine that saw the titular character die after facing one of his worst enemies, his creator in fact, there have been some pretty big revelations so far, not the least of which is that at least one of the people on the “team” is an unrepentant serial killer and that another is perhaps hosting a slice of Wolverine’s consciousness in himself, creating some really tense moments.
This week’s Weapon X Program #3 continues the tale of the ad-hoc group as it tries to locate Victor Creed aka Sabretooth, another one of Logan’s greatest enemies, in an effort to get some answers as to what the hell happened to them all in the Weapon X Facility and why it happened. Charles Soule continues to keep some mysteries about the group close to his chest, while also introducing some new ones and the art by Salvador Larroca continues to be pretty damn good with some great action this time around.
Spider-Verse has been crawling along for a few weeks without much direction so far. It started off well-enough but the utter proliferation of tie-ins has just about killed it for me. I’m hanging on only for a few characters like Gwen Stacy, Jessica Drew, Kaine, Ben Reilly, Spider-Ham, Spider-Man Noir and a few others but other than that, I’ve been feeling rather underwhelmed by the entire event. There are some gems in here for sure, but I think what this event needs is some strong narrative direction rather than focusing on each character on his or her own.
This week’s Scarlet Spiders #1 brings together three clones of Peter Parker for a short-lived adventure set in Spider-Verse. Kaine, Ben Reilly and Ultimate Jessica Drew are sent on a mission to a world identified as the one where the Inheritors are cloning their bodies (Amazing Spider-Man #10 I believe). Writer Mike Costa is at the helm of this series and he makes this first issue an absolute joy, bringing together three of Peter’s more famous clones, even as artist Paco Diaz makes them visually stand-out in a great way.
No “Magic 40″ this week since I wasn’t able to get around to a lot of the comics I wanted to get through this week, largely because I am traveling and in India for a cousin’s marriage. These things always take up a lot of time. I haven’t even had a chance to work on my NaNo novel these past two days!
Anyway, My top picks for the surprise hits of the week would be Batman ’66: The Lost Episode #1 and He-Man and the Masters of the Universe Volume 2 from DC Comics. The most disappointing comics of this week were Amazing Spider-Man #10 and Spider-Woman #1 from Marvel Comics. Other than that, the regularly great titles like Black Widow, Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 10 , Future’s End, Predator: Fire and Stone and Witchblade all proved to be immensely fun.
The graphic novels for this week were Aphrodite IX v2 Volume 2 by Matt Hawkins, Stjepan Sejic and Troy Peteri, and He-Man and the Masters of the Universe Volume 2 by Dan Abnett, Rafael Kayanan, Kathryn Layno, Deron Bennett, Yildiray Cinar, Randy Mayor, Michael S. O’Hare, Frazer Irving, Pop Mhan, Tom Derenick, Tony Avina, Ken Lashley and Ryan Sook.
Last week I started off a new feature on the blog, Fast-Shot Comics Reviews, in which I will be reviewing some of my comics read from that week that I wasn’t able to get to in terms of reviews. And these can be comics I liked or comics I hated or anywhere in between really. Last week I did six comics, all of them among my top picks for the week, and it was a pretty fun experience, trying to reduce my usual 700+ words reviews into something like half that number. Quite challenging too since I usually write so much more.
The picks for this week are: Grimm Fairy Tales #104, Grimm Fairy Tales 2014 Holiday Edition, Death of Wolverine: The Weapon X Program #2, Inhuman #8, Storm #5, and Wonder Woman #36. The picks are a bit heavy on the Big Two this week, owing to how much I read from them, and also since most of my reading was confined to them only this week. An interesting bunch certainly and there are quite a few really good books in here, though not all are what I’d call “Pick of the Week” material, even though they skirt the line.
Marvel’s Black Widow has undoubtedly been one of the publisher’s bigger success stories from among all the new titles launched this year. While not reaching the heights of titles like Ms. Marvel, it hasn’t been down in the doldrums with titles like She-Hulk either, being more of a balancer towards the high side of the numbers. And that’s well and good since it makes a solid addition to the overall line-up and the work done by writer Nathan Edmondson and artist Phil Noto has been quite phenomenal, especially of late, with more to come I’m sure.
This week’s Black Widow #12 sees the comics debut of noted television news anchor/journalist Anderson Cooper as Nathan Edmondson writes a really charged issue that explores Natasha’s dual nature. Being on SHIELD’s payroll and also a prominent Avenger, her work often brings her into conflict with things she can’t control, such as international political red-tape and the label of “necessary evil”. Nathan delivers a rather astounding issue this time, even as Phil Noto goes all out with the star-cast of this issue that also includes quite a few prominent Avengers and other high-profile Marvel characters.
Just about three weeks ago, we got to see something amazing happen in James Robinson and Leonard Kirk’s Fantastic Four, when we finally got to learn who was orchestrating the team’s grandiose downfall, chipping away them one by one. We still don’t have all the answers, but damn, it was a huge issue, a major turning point. With everything that was happening, things seemed to be moving towards a conclusion finally, and I reveled in that since it was something I’ve been wanting to see from the series for a couple months now. The wait is now over.
Fantastic Four #13 is yet another turning point for the series, and the cover is pretty much a dead-giveaway for what is going to happen here. Last time, we saw that Ben was planning a break-out with the Sandman, and we see that happen in glorious detail in this issue. After all the misery of the previous issues, there’s finally some hope for the team, even though they are all still caught in a dark circle that is going to take some time for them to break out of. The issue is a bit too fast-paced for my tastes, but the story and art are both as excellent as they could have been.
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.