It certainly is no secret that making it past double digits is an immense challenge for comics these days, what with all the relaunches and reboots that seem to happen every now and then. But when a title has been going on for almost two decades, almost without interruption, that’s when you know that things are going good. Last year Ron Marz and Laura Braga created a new jump-on point for new readers of Witchblade with #170 and they did it with little fanfare but lots of awesome. And they’ve been going at it ever since, turning out one good story after another.
Witchblade celebrated its 175th issue last week and again, this was all without fanfare. I actually didn’t know that issue #175 was going to be a special anniversary issue with more than twice the content until I picked up the issue and started reading. Ron and Laura wrapped up their first arc on the series last month and now they delve into new territory as they explore some of the more ephemeral and psychological aspects of the Witchblade, and the bonus content rocked from start to finish as well, including a short story from a completely different creative team.
When The Amazing Spider-Man came out in 2012, opinions were polarised, largely because many people thought that it was far too soon for a reboot of the friendly neighbourhood wall-crawler, and I agree that it kind of was. But with a new direction that promised to atone for the mistakes of the trilogy, I was very excited for the movie. And I loved it. Andrew Garfield made a really great Peter Parker and captured the best of the character. And then there was Gwen Stacy, Spidey’s original girlfriend. She rocked that movie. With lots of mysteries, lots of action, and a great overall story, The Amazing Spider-Man stands for me as one of the best superhero movies to date.
And now we have The Amazing Spider-Man 2, the sequel, and this movie had me even more excited than I was for the first movie. Because we were getting another villain new to the Spidey movies in the form of Elektro and Jamie Foxx promised to be a great Elektro. But not only that, we also had Harry Osborn as the Green Goblin and Paul Giamatti as Rhino. The movie promised to be great, but there was a concern that it would fall under the weight of so many supervillains. Well, the reality is quite different indeed and The Amazing Spider-Man 2 proved that it was a better movie than its predecessor, which was already pretty damn good.
Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti have been on kind of a roll with their Harley Quinn series. Starting with the #0 anthology issue and then the main series itself, Harley Quinn has quickly become one of DC’s quirkiest characters. Of course, she was quite a loon before, but under Conner-Palmiotti’s pen she has become something else entirely. I never thought that there could be a book from DC that was so off its rocker and packed with so much madcap humour. But Conner-Palmiotti have managed to do just that exactly, and it has been one hell of a read so far.
Harley Quinn #5 is all about Harley’s adventures with the old and retired agent Sy-borg, who has a vendetta against some old Russian gangbosses he thought he took down ages ago. Now he finally has all the intel he needed and he has drafted in Harley because of her history and her present problems. Unlike previous issues, this new one doesn’t advance the meta-story at all, but it tells a fairly decent one-shot story. And we have Chad Hardin back on the series now. The art is decent but that’s it.
Another great week this time. Lots of fun new tiles and old ones returning for new installments. The highlight of the week had to be the upcoming graphic novel by Paul Dini and Joe Quinones Jr. for which I managed to get a review copy. Long live NetGalley! And the graphic novel definitely delivered on its promise too, although there were a few things that I didn’t like so much.
With all the new series coming out, its definitely a good time to be in comics, and most of all if you have been a fan of certain series like Daredevil and Unity. I’m still behind on certain series though and there are a lot of comics that I am behind on, as I was painfully made aware this past week. And the pile is mounting every week. Just too many things to stay current with.
For some reason, Image’s Rocket Girl has seen some significant delays between the third and fourth issues, with the former having come out in December and the latter this past week. Not really sure why that is, but I can definitely say that it is a series that I have missed. Dayoung is an amazing protagonist, with lots of attitude and a fantastic outlook on life. With her, the story is pretty damn good fun and she is certainly one of the star attractions, which is as it should be.
In the previous issues, we’ve seen the rumblings of some major conspiracy going on at Quintum Mechanics in 2013, which has led to Dayoung going back in time to 1986 to prevent it all. Somehow. And now we are finally seeing her supporting cast get some more screen-time, particularly Commissioner Gomez and Officer Leshawn, and even the scientists from back in ’86. The overall plot doesn’t progress so much in the new issue, but we get some great character drama nonetheless and some really great non-stop action, which all rocked together. And Amy Reeder’s art was better than ever.
I seem to be developing a very weird relationship with Harley. Her new series, while been quite the sales success, hasn’t really wowed me as much as I expected it to. The first couple issues were great, but the last two haven’t been as as great sadly. Part of that I think is that story-wise Harley is not that easy a character to write when she is taken so completely out of her element as Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner have done. But, it does give them a lot of opportunities to tell some really exciting stories, and on that front at least, the writing duo has delivered well.
In the new issue released this week, we see a very normal day in the life of Harley. She is currently a building manager on the side while performing as a shrink in a hospital and is also a roller derby enthusiast at night. And she has assassins coming after her, for reasons she has yet to discover. Exciting times certainly, but something is lacking here all the same. I need an over-arching plot for this series, something that says this is what the series is about. However, with Stephane Roux as the guest artist for this issue, I loved the visual beauty of the series, and want more of it.
In 2012 and, by extension, 2013 we had the greatest surprise in comics in recent years. Or so I believe. Doctor Otto Octavious essentially killed Peter Parker and transferred his consciousness to his body. Now, for more than a year, the “new” Peter Parker has been the Superior Spider-Man, marking a new age in comics where a villain became a hero in an attempt to genuinely do some good. I’ve certainly never read a story like this. Dan Slott and Ryan Stegman’s Superior Spider-Man Volume 1 proved to be an eye-opener in many ways for me, and through all his appearances in other comics, I’ve definitely come to enjoy Superior Spider-Man.
With Marvel’s latest event, Inhumanity, things are gearing up for the launch of the event’s premier series Inhumans in April and in the lead-up we are getting several titles each month which lay down the groundwork. Inhumanity: Superior Spider-Man #1 is one such title that, while it has only a passing connection to the event for now, helps to flesh out the ordinary lives of New Yorkers as they deal with the fallout of the Infinity event and the Terrigen Mists causing widespread mutations all over the world. One of my favourite writers by far, Christos Gage tells a really personal story in this issue and he is assisted most handsomely by Stephanie Hans who turns out one of the most gorgeous comics I’ve seen in a long time.
Part of Image Comics’ 2031 fall line-up, Rocket Girl debuted in October and quickly become quite a favourite. A mix of a near-future setting where there are teen cops, a fun protagonist with a really fun attitude and personality who is one of those teen cops, time travel into the past, and overall some really good writing and art, Rocket Girl was definitely among my favourite reads of the month. All the elements put together by writer Brandon Montclare and artist Amy Reeder really gelled as a whole for the debut issue and I hoped that the next two issues would hold up to that.
Which they do. Rocket Girl #2 and #3 came out soon after, in November and then December, and they have both been as good as the first, at the least. There’s been a slight bit of dodginess with the script, but nothing too severe and not enough for me to not enjoy the story at all as it turns out. What matters most here is that both these issues have continued to do some really fun things with the characters and the setting, and there have been surprises galore to keep me hooked on for the rest of it.