After a break in February, Image Comics’ Velvet returned to stores a couple weeks with its fourth issue, which continues the story of former ARC-7 field agent Velvet Templeton as she tracks down how and why one of the agency’s best agents was murdered. Ed Brubaker’s characterisaton has been one of the highlights of the series since its debut last year, plus the great visuals conjured by Steve Epting and Elizabeth Breitweiser, which made this one of my favourite new series in 2013. The whole espionage thriller feel has definitely kept me interested and coming back month after month.
In the new issue, Velvet hunts down another lead into the mystery of why X-14 was murdered, this time as part of a massive festival in Monaco, a festival that is quite reflective of the espionage and intelligence community. The formula is starting to feel a bit tired, but I won’t deny that Brubaker’s plot and dialogue are still on good form and there’s a great revelation at the end of the issue. And the art team goes full-on crazy in this issue, making it one of the best so far.
Tags: Carnival of Fools, Chris Eliopoulos, Cold War, Comics, Comics Review, Ed Brubaker, Elizabeth Breitweiser, Espionage, Female Spy, Image Comics, Intelligence Agency, KGB Agent, Monaco, Mystery, Noir, Noir-Thriller, Review, Review Central, Russian Intelligence, Spy, Steve Epting, Thriller, Velvet
In a lot of ways, 2013 has been a fairly good year for debut novels, as much as 2012 was. There have been some really fantastic releases, and they have all continued an unofficial tradition of doing something different with the genres that they have been set in. I can say for certain that of all the debut novels I read this year, none of them have been quite what I expected. Some of these novels have been really, really good while a small handful have been disappointing.
I put together a list at the end of last year in which I ran through my top picks of all the debuts I’d read, and I found the experience to be quite rewarding, and a great help in figuring out just why these novels were so good beyond just writing up the reviews.
All in all, of the 20 debut novels I wanted to read this year as per my list (link), I read 18 of them. Here are the 8 books I consider to be the best of the bunch.
Tags: 2013 Debuts, 2013 Release, A Conspiracy of Alchemists, Alchemy, Aliens, Angry Robot, Angry Robot Books, Best Debuts, Between Two Thorns, Black Science, Brian McClellan, Chronicles of Light and Shadow, Debut Authors, Del Rey, Del Rey Books, Dire Earth Cycle, Fae, Fantasy, Gemsigns, Genetic Engineering, Gunpowder Fantasy, Historical Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Irish Mythology, Jason M. Hough, Jo Fletcher Books, Julianna Scott, Liesel Schwarz, London, magic, Michael Martinez, Near Future, Nightshade Books, No Return, Noir, Orbit Books, Powder Mage, Promise of Blood, Random House, Random House Books, Regency Fantasy, science fantasy, Science Fiction, Skyhorse Publishing, Space Elevator, Space Opera, Split Worlds, Steampunk, Steampunk Fantasy, Stephanie Saulter, Strange Chemistry, Strange Chemistry Books, The Daedalus Incident, The Darwin Elevator, The Holders, Urban Fantasy, Zachary Jernigan
Just like the week prior, this past week was really busy as well. I read two graphic novels again, Superman: The Man of Steel Volume 1 and Marvel’s Infinity, and both of them proved to be quite excellent and met my expectations quite nicely. However, it wasn’t all as good as I would have preferred since there were too many comics that came out last week which I didn’t get to read. Which is weird, considering that this is essentially a 5-week month and the books should be spread out over that much time, what with the extra week thrown in.
Still, I’m in a pretty good place I think, more so since with my Advent Calendar, I’m motivated to read more graphic novels and review more comics in general. Which is always a plus. And today is another new comics day, with all that entails, so this new week is looking very promising right now.
Tags: Aaron Lopresti, Al Barrionuevo, Andrea Sorrentino, Avengers, Batman, Black Bolt, Brahm Revel, Captain America, Cassandra James, Christian Mythology, Comics, Comics Picks of the Week, Constantine, Contemporary, Crime, Cris Peter, Dan Duncan, David Messina, David Morrell, DC Comics, Detective Comics, Detective Comics #26, Dick Giordano, Dynamite Entertainment, Earth 2, Earth 2 #18, Ed Brubaker, Espionage, Fernando Blanco, Frank Tieri, Freddie Williams II, Gail Simone, Gotham, Green Arrow, Green Arrow #25, Heist, Horror, Icon Comics, IDW Publishing, Image Comics, Infinity, Infinity: Heist, Infinity: Heist #3, Inhumanity, Inhumanity #1, Inhumans, J.M. DeMatteis, Jack Jadson, Jane Vasko, Jeff Lemire, Jerome Opena, Jim Cheung, Jimmy Palmiotti, John Byrne, John Layman, Jonathan Hickman, Juan Santacruz, Karnak, Khan, Klaus Janson, Legends of Red Sonja, Legends of Red Sonja #2, Man-Bat, Marvel, Marvel Knights, Marvel Knights: X-Men #2, Marvel Now, Matt Fraction, Medusa, Mel Rubi, Meljean Brook, Mike Johnson, Mutants, New 52, New York, Nicola Scott, Noir, Oliver Queen, Olivier Coipel, Painkiller Jane, Painkiller Jane #2, Paul Allor, Peter Parker, Red Sonja, Religion, Science Fiction, Shredder, Space Opera, Spider-Man, Star Trek, Star Trek: Khan, Star Trek: Khan #3, Steve Epting, Superheroes, Superman, Superman: The Man of Steel Volume 1, Supernatural, Supervillains, Swamp Thing, Swords and Sorcery, Tamora Pierce, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Villains #8 - Shredder, Thanos, The Amazing Spider-Man, The Amazing Spider-Man #700.1, The Man of Steel, The Movement, The Movement #7, The Phantom Stranger, The Phantom Stranger #14, TMNT, Tom Taylor, Velvet, Velvet #2, Vigilantes, Warrior Women, X-Men
The final guest on Names: A New Perspective for May is Francis Knight, the debut author of Fade To Black from Orbit (my review). The sequel, Before The Fall, is due quite soon as well. The highlight of Francis’ debut was the wonderful world she had created and the moral ambiguities that could be found therein. Fade To Black was a novel that stretched over several genres and was unique in its own way. I expect Before The Fall to offer a similar experience. In the meantime while the novel nears its release date, here’s what Francis has to say on the topic of names.
This year has been an excellent year for debuts, whether it’s science fiction or fantasy or historical fiction or urban fantasy or noir or western or young adult or whatever. Some truly amazing authors have made themselves known, and many of these have gone on to impress with second novels also released this year. In this blog I take a look at the debut novels of the year that I just loved and would recommend far and wide to everybody.
I didn’t actually read that many debut novels this year (from 2012), so the list is going to be unfortunately small – only eight in total, which is why I’m going to do a straight list rather than a Top 6 and 6 Honourable Mentions as I had initially planned.
So let’s have at it, yeah?
Tags: 2012 Debuts, Adam Christopher, Alchemist of Souls, Alternate Reality, Amanda Carlson, Angry Robot Books, Anne Lyle, Artificial Intelligence, Blood and Feathers, Chris F. Holm, Cora Oglesby, Dead Harvest, Debut Authors, Debut Authors Guest Series, Empire State, Fantasy, Full Blooded, Historical Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Interviews, Jessica McClain, Laura Lam, Lee Collins, Lou Morgan, Magic Circus, Names, Names A New Perspective, Night's Masque, Noir, Orbit Books, Pantomime, Paranormal Fantasy, Particle Horizon, Poltergeeks, Science Fiction, Selso Xisto, Solaris Books, Space Opera, Strange Chemistry, The Collector, The Dead of Winter, The meaning of Names, Urban Fantasy, Vampires, Werewolves, Western