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12 Days of Best Covers of 2014: Day #9

The ninth book cover I pick for the 2014 edition of “12 Days of Best Covers of…” is for a Warhammer Fantasy novel, The End Times: The Return of Nagash by Josh Reynolds, the cover for which was done by Paul Dainton. The End Times is a new series in Warhammer Fantasy that is positioned as one to move forward the “stuck” timeline of the setting. There are major upheavals happening in the Old World, and no race is untouched by these events. And among these, one of the most dire change is that the greatest necromancer of all time, Nagash, has returned to life, and Josh’s utterly fantastic novel charts how the greatest villain of Warhammer Fantasy returns to life.

The first of the ninth set of comic covers I pick this year is for Edge of Spider-Verse #2 by Jason Latour, Robbi Rodriguez, Rico Renzi and VC’s Clayton Cowles, with the cover by Robbi. The second is for Batman: Eternal #24 by Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV, Ray Fawkes, Kyle Higgins, Tim Seeley, Andy Clarke, Blond and Steve Wands with the cover by the cool team of Jason Fabok and Brad Anderson. Edge of Spider-Verse #2 is itself such a notable comic because it features Gwen Stacy as a Spider-Women. Part of the larger Spider-Verse crossover event where we find out that there are innumerable realities out there, each home to an Earth with its own version of Spider-Man or Spider-Woman, or what have you, this comic was incredibly good, in both the story and art, being an utter wowzer. Batman: Eternal #24 on the other hand is notable because so much of it deals with Stephanie Brown, even as the larger events of the series unfold. Stephanie finally steps into her identity as Spoiler in this issue, and it is damn good fun to see her take on her villain father.

So without further ado, hit the break to see all the covers in their full glory! The full list of all these covers is available here.

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Advent Review #21: Ms. Marvel #10 (Comics Review)

As the year closes out, you look back at all the new books from Marvel that have come out this year and you realize that in all of them, there’s one that stands above the rest: Ms. Marvel, starring Kamala Khan, an entirely new heroine created by G. Willow Wilson and Ian Herring who has gone on to create a buzz unlike any other. The fact that the title has been incredibly consistent all year is nothing short of amazing of course, and in recent months we’ve seen the creators step up the intensity on the title in a really big way as they delve more and more into who really is Kamala Khan and what kind of a hero she can be.

With her powers on the fritz recently, it was a tough job for Kamala to fight through all the challenges that presented themselves, not the least of which was discovering her true heritage as an Inhuman, which brought her into the wheelhouse of the Inhuman series and moving on after that, we see that she is not yet done with her arch-enemy, the Inventor. In the new issue, we see Kamala truly become a leader of her generation and confront the Inventor in a way she hasn’t before, just before the villain drops a bomb on her, figuratively of course.

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12 Days of Best Covers of 2014: Day #8

The eighth book cover I pick for the 2014 edition of “12 Days of Best Covers of…” is actually not for a novel, but an audio drama. Written by Nick Kyme, Horus Heresy: Censure is the continuation of the tale of Sergeant Aeonid Thiel of the Ultramarines, who was awaiting censure by the Primarch Guilliman for his many insubordinations when the traitor Word Bearers launched their sneak attack on Calth and the rest of the Veridian System. Though it was released last year, I didn’t get a chance to listen to the audio until this year, and it proved to be a very good one too. Nick picked up the story from Dan Abnett’s Know No Fear novel from 2012 really well, and showed how things are at Calth now, in the present, presenting an interesting look at one of the Astartes who would go on to change the way the Ultramarines thought about almost everything when it came to making war.

The eighth set of comic covers I pick this year are for Ms. Marvel #7 by G. Willow Wilson, Jacob Wyatt, Ian Herring,  and VC’s Joe Caramagna with the cover by Jamie McKelvie and Matthew Wilson, with the second one being Wayward #1 by Jim Zub, Steve Cummings, John Rauch and Marshall Dillon with the cover by Steve and Ross A. Campbell, and the third of the set is for Life With Archie #37 by Paul Kupperberg, Fernando Ruiz, Pat & Tim Kennedy, Bob Smith, Gary Martin, Jack Morelli and Glenn Whitmore. The first of these is of course from one of my absolute favourite new series of the year, through which writer G. Willow Wilson pretty much revolutionized young superhero comics. Kamala Khan has to be the most awesome new character to debut in superhero comics this year, and I love reading her adventures month after month. Wayward is one of Jim Zub’s latest new projects and he has been rocking it out on all levels, especially with the fantastic art provided by Steve, John and Marshall. And Life With Archie #37 is, of course, the issue that followed on from the landmark Life With Archie #36, in which the titular hero died. These series has kind of been an alternate-verse storyline that has also been quite progressive in many ways, and though Life With Archie #37 might not be THE issue where Archie died, it is set a year later and is a nostalgia trip of epic proportions as many of the most iconic characters of the Archie-verse talk about him and celebrate his life.

So without further ado, hit the break to see all the covers in their full glory! The full list of all these covers is available here.

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Advent Review #19: Supergirl #36-37 (Comics Review)

DC’s Supergirl is one of the first titles I started reading when I got back into comics some two and a half years ago, having kicked things off with the newly-launched New 52 titles like Batman and Superman. Since those early days, the title has seen a lot of turnover of creators and along the way, I think that Michael Alan Nelson and Diogenes Neves made the best collaborators on the title by far, giving the title what it needed most at the time: stability and awesomeness, though sadly they were soon replaced by another creative team.

And now, just last month, Supergirl received another creative team change in the form of K. Perkins, Mike Johnson, Emanuela Lupacchino, Ray McCarthy and Hi-Fi. I gave up reading Supergirl following last year’s Krypton Returns crossover, and only just came back to the title last month, but I’m already feeling as if the old magic from Michael and Diogenes’ run is back. The new team is taking things in a very different direction for the character than previously established, and the art also seems to have taken an uptick, which is good.

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12 Days of Best Covers of 2014: Day #6

The sixth book cover I pick for the 2014 edition of “12 Days of Best Covers of…” is for Bloodsounder’s Arc #2: Veil of The Deserters by Jeff Salyards, published by Night Shade Books under the auspices of Skyhorse Publishing/Start Publishing. As with Jeff’s debut from 2012, Scourge of the Betrayer, the story wasn’t all that much to my tastes. There are some good moments in Veil of The Deserters sure, but at times it was just too dragged out for me to really appreciate the story.

The sixth set of comic covers I pick this year are for Black Canary/Zatanna: Bloodspell by Paul Dini, Joe Quinones, Dave McCaig and Sal Cipriano with the cover by Joe himself, and Green Arrow #32 by Jeff Lemire, Andrea Sorrentino, Marcelo Maiolo and Dezi Sienty, with the cover by Andrea and Marcelo. The new graphic novel by Paul and Joe was one of my most anticipated reads of the year and thankfully, it delivered quite well, being one of the best graphic novels I’ve read all year, more so since it features a great relationship between the titular characters. Green Arrow #32 on the other hand was one in a long line of awesome issues by the creative team, which really changed the landscape of the title last year and which continued with incredible consistency for more than a year. The creators are now off on other titles, but with Green Arrow #32 they took things to a new level and delivered one of my favourite issues of the year.

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.

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12 Days of Best Covers of 2014: Day #5

The fifth book cover I pick for the 2014 edition of “12 Days of Best Covers of…” is for Heirs of the Demon King: Uprising by Sarah Cawkwell. Published by Abaddon Books, this was Sarah’s first full-length non-Black Library work, and it proved to be even better than some of her Black Library work, which is saying something since I’ve always held her BL fiction in high regard. She was one of the first authors I started reading back when I was returning to BL fiction some years back, and she has never disappointed. An historical fiction novel about an alternate English history, mixed in with some great fantastical concepts, Uprising was one of my top books for the first half of the year.

The fifth set of comic covers I pick this year are for Batgirl #31 by Gail Simone, Fernando Pasarin, Jonathan Glapion, Blond and Dezi Sienty, with cover by Alex Garner, and Robyn Hood: Legend #1 by Pat Shand, Larry Watts, Slamet Mujiono and Jim Campbell, with the cover by Nei Ruffino. Alex Garner’s work on Batgirl has always been impresive since he stepped on to the title last year, and the one for Batgirl #31 is among my favourites, especially since it has one of my favourite Secret Six characters, Ragdoll. With Robyn Hood: Legend, I have less of a history since I only got into the whole Robyn Hood thing this year, but writer Pat Shand certainly made it a grand experience and Nei Ruffino’s cover, while a variant, is the best of all the covers commissioned for the first issue of the third Robyn Hood mini-series.

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.

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Comics Picks For 10.12.2014

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 HexedJohn Carter: Warlord of MarsBatman: EternalBirthrightPrometheus: 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.

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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12 Days of Best Covers of 2014: Day #3

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.

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12 Days of Best Covers of 2014: Day #2

The second book cover I pick for the 2014 edition of “12 Days of Best Covers of…” is for Michael J. Martinez’s The Enceladus Crisis which is the second novel in his Daedalus series. Michael debuted last year on a very strong note with The Daedalus Incident and he carries forward almost all of the same energy and excitement of the debut, telling a new story with characters I’ve come to really care about, in a setting that is wildly creative unlike any space opera I’ve read before.

And the second set of comic covers I pick this year are for Tomb Raider #1 by Gail Simone and Nicolás Daniel Selma, with the cover done by Dan Dos Santos, and the second one is for Harley Quinn #3 by Amanda Conner, Jimmy Palmiotti and Chad Hardin, with the cover done by Amanda Conner and Dave Johnson (corrected!). With Gail on Tomb Raider, it was an instant pick for me as part of my reading for the month and since I loved the direction that Amanda and Jimmy were going with on their brand-new top-selling title, that too was pretty automatic, especially given how they twist the concept of Valentine’s Day for their titular character.

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.

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Arrow Season 2.5 #8 (Comics Review)

The previous issue of Arrow Season 2.5 was a pretty rough one for Oliver. It turned out that during his escape from the Church of Blood, the new Count Vertigo (played in the season 3 premiere by the amazing Peter Stormare) had dosed him with a dangerous hallucinagen and that made him fight his friends, and the memories of his family. As an exploration of Oliver’s damaged and tortured psyche, it was a fairly good installment and though it was a surprise to see Count Vertigo debut in the comic, it also made for a rather thrilling read toward the end so no complaints there.

In this week’s Arrow Season 2.5 #8, we see the consequences and lead-off from Oliver’s big fight against his memories and friends while dosed up on the drug from the new Count. It turns out actually that Sara is indeed in town on some assignment and she helps the team get back on its feet and beat-off the after-effects of a rather terrible night, a mission gone totally wrong. And on the other side, we have Waller continue to position her pieces with the Suicide Squad, preparing them to go to Kahndaq on a mission to kill a local warlord.

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The Valiant #1 (Comics Review)

Valiant Comics currently possesses a great team superhero book in Matt Kindt’s ongoing Unity, which launched last year in the Fall and has since become one of my favourite comics across the board. In that title, we see various heroes come together to battle it out with an alien menace in the present timeline, and win through with some big handicaps along the way. The title has wavered a bit here and there at points, but the end result is that it is still a damn good book, one that I recommend fairly highly for all readers.

And this week the publisher launched The Valiant #1, which is the start of a new team superhero book, though along different lines and also focusing on slightly different characters, though there is indeed some overlap between the books in terms of the characters featured, such as Gilad Anni-Padda aka Eternal Warrior and Aric the Visigoth aka X-O Manowar. Jeff Lemire and Matt Kindt tell a riveting tale of Gilad’s past failures in this debut issue and artists Paolo and Joe Rivera do their utmost to make it a visual feast. Read the rest of this entry

12 Days of Best Covers of 2014: Day #1

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.

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