Blog Archives

Best of 2014 Part 1b: Monthly Comics

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!

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Comics Picks For 25.06.2014

This past has week has actually been a pretty rough week. I think there were about 3 days in all where I didn’t even put up any posts on the blog. And it took me almost 10 days to read just 2 short books, which is pretty damn rough by my standards. And as of yesterday morning I was well in the position of barely having read even ten comics in the past week. But since yesterday evening I set out to change that and I have managed to read thirty comics in all, which is the first of such a milestone for me. And possibly the last since my wedding is this Saturday and things are gonna kick up a notch from tomorrow afternoon.

The surprise hits of this week were Clive Barker’s Nightbreed #2 from Boom Studios, New Avengers Annual #1 from Marvel Comics and Batman: Eternal #12 from DC Comics. The surprise flops would be Star Wars: Rebel Heist #3 from Dark Horse Comics (again!), Batman #32 from DC Comics and Original Sin: Hulk vs Iron Man #1 from Marvel Comics. Comics that I expected to be great, such as Grimm Fairy Tales Presents Helsing #3 from Zenescope Entertainment, Ms. Marvel #5 from Marvel Comics and both Superman #32 and Justice League Dark #32 from DC, were every bit what I wanted them to be. And I’d like to make a special note of Justice League #31 which proved to be quite interesting after the snoozefest that was Justice League #30 in the month prior. No graphic novels in this week, but that’s fine.

Anyway, here’s another edition of “Comics Picks For…”. Full reading list, as always, is available here and all my comics reviews are available here.

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Vampirella #1 (Comics Review)

I started reading Vampirella comics back in 2012, courtesy of some of the stuff that Dynamite Entertainment was putting out at the time, and I have to say that I found them quite enjoyable as far as both writing and artwork are concerned. Sure, the covers were often quite risque, but the internal artwork was almost always great, such as the case with Walter Geovani’s work on Ron Marz’s Prophecy or Johnny Desjardins’ work on Tom Sniegoski’s Vampirella Strikes. As with Red Sonja under Dynamite, Vampirella is definitely a favourite character to read, and with the new series launching last week, I figured it was time to properly get on that ride.

Vampirella #1, which I just finished reading, is a great entry-point to the character and her setting as far as I am concerned. Sure, some things are kept to the chest, but you get enough through Nancy A. Collins’ writing to see who Vampirella is, and just what she is as well. Plus, Nancy ties the story in with a seemingly old foe of the character, so that provides a lot of tension and direction to the narrative, with two really good twists that will surprise you for sure. And the artwork by Patrick Berkenkotter is also quite nice, which is another plus.

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Comics Picks For 28.05.2014

After all the heavy reading of the previous weeks, this past week proved to be a little less intensive, but not by much. The only real difference this time was that I didn’t get to read any graphic novels or trades. And I only just managed to read all these comics anyways because things are getting hectic here with all the marriage preparations, not to mention the court marriage I had the other day (yes, officially married now!). So yeah, things are just a little bit really hectic.

The surprise hits of this week were 7th Sword #1 from IDW Publishing, Harley Quinn #6 from DC Comics, and Dejah of Mars #1 from Dynamite Entertainment. The surprise flops would be Batman #31 and The Flash #31, both from DC Comics, both of them quite disappointing in that the arcs do not make sense anymore and I’m really turned off of them. Comics that I expected to be great, such as Ms. Marvel #4 from Marvel and Thanos Annual 2014, also from Marvel, and Future’s End #4 from DC Comics, were all good, amongst others. So a nice spread of everything, as usual.

Anyway, here’s another edition of “Comics Picks For…”. Full reading list, as always, is available here and all my comics reviews are available here.

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Comics Picks For 21.05.2014

My quest to push my reading habits week after week continued this week when I read 26 comics in all, which includes 23 individual issues and three graphic novels, two of which were larger than normal Fables trades. Those three trades proved to be the difference this week since my reading from the previous week was quite different. Plus, two of the issues I read this past week were from the same series so in the list of comics read, they count as one. Still, I had a ton of fun this week since I read the two (big) Fables trades back-to-back in less than an hour, which is pretty new for me.

The surprise hits of this week would definitely be Savage Wolverine #19 from Marvel and Angel & Faith Season 10 #2 from Dark Horse whereas the surprise flop would be DC’s Justice League #30 (just one this week as it happens). Books that I expected to be good, such as Marvel’s Elektra #2, IDW’s Transformers: Windblade #2, Dark Horse’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 10 #3, and Image’s Velvet #4, managed to deliver on their promise quite well.

Anyway, here’s another edition of “Comics Picks For…”. Full reading list, as always, is available here and all my comics reviews are available here.

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Velvet #5 (Comics Review)

There’s only so far you can go in an action-packed story before you have to stop and consider where all the character development is. A spy thriller like Velvet requires that the characters always be first and foremost but more than that, you also need some strong context of their histories and what all has happened to bring them to that point where you are becoming familiar with them. In the past four issues of Velvet, we’ve seen some tantalising glimpses of Velvet Templeton’s past as an agent of ARC-7, and all that has done has whet my appetite for more.

In Velvet #5, we see significant sections of Velvet’s past as we see how she was recruited by ARC-7 and what her training was like in those days. The entire story this time picks up straight from the cliffhanger from the previous issue and Brubaker just runs off with all of it, as he walks Velvet through a personal betrayer that still haunts her. Brubaker’s writing is just as fantastic and richly-layered as always even as the artwork by Steve Epting and Elizabeth Breitweiser still rocks. If you thought that the previous issues were good, then Velvet #5 will challenge that.

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Comics Picks For 23.04.2014

This week I was a man on a mission. I’d resolved to make a big dent in my weekly reading pile, given all the great comics that were coming out, and I did just that. Not counting my graphic novel binges, since those count as a single item only, this has been my biggest week so far to date. 23 single issues in a week, with 15 reviews of these titles. Pretty damn good odds I say. I’m definitely hitting my stride here.

The best part of the week, other than all the fantastic new comics, was catching up with comics that I’d left off with or had put aside for other comics, such as American Vampire: Second Cyle and Pandora. The former proved to be really good while the latter not so much. But such is the way of things. I may be behind on novel reading, but I don’t care so much about that. Comics are where the excitement is going down!

Anyway, here’s another edition of “Comics Picks For…”. Full reading list, as always, is available here and all my comics reviews are available here.

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Velvet #4 (Comics Review)

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.

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Best Debuts of 2013

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.

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Comics Picks of The Week 04.12.2013

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.

In the meantime, here’s another edition of this new feature. Full reading list, as always, is available here and all my comics reviews are available here.

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NANP: Names, Beasts, Roses

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.

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Best Debuts of 2012

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?

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