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!
Well, it has been a couple weeks again since I did this feature. The week before, well, it was marriage week for me and I barely read 4 books, so it didn’t really make sense to do a post on just those four, so I skipped it. And it was a really slow week all in all, especially for blogging, so I just decided to let things rest for an entire week. But I’m back again this time!
The surprise hits of this week were Death Vigil #1 from Top Cow andGrayson #1 from DC Comics. The surprise flop of the week would be Spider-Man 2099 #1 from Marvel Comics. Expectedly great comics such as Fantastic Four #7 from Marvel Comics, Batgirl #3# from DC all delivered on their promises as well. Not a lot of comics this past week, certainly not as much as the week prior or my usual number of ~25/week, but definitely a good number at 21 issues. Might take a dive in the next week though!
More than any other superhero, Dick Grayson aka Nightwing suffered the most during DC’s recent big-event, Forever Evil. He was captured by Superwoman and then his civilian identity was unmasked during a global vid-cast, after he was beaten black-and-blue by the Crime Syndicate. The stage was set for his death during this event, for with his unmasking there followed the very real danger that his friends would be found out as well. He did die during the event, for all his friends, and this was the same time as the announcement that he would return in a new identity and new series very soon.
Grayson #1 is the start of a new series that, in my limited experience, puts Dick Grayson in one of the most unique phases of his life, something that can match his temporary tenure as Batman during Bruce’s supposed death. Batman convinced him at the end of Forever Evil that he should recast himself as a special ops agent for SPYRAL and writers Tim Seeley and Tom King have had the distinction of shepherding him through this new phase, and they’ve really done a top job with this first issue. Plus, the art by Mikel Janin, Jeromy Cox and Carlos M. Mangual deserves top marks as well.
Another week of heavy comics reading, and to think that just three days ago I was concerned whether or not I’d even be able to read 15 comics! How quickly things change, and for the better, in this case. It has been quite a good week this time with several new experimentations among other things.
The surprise hits of this week were Chew/Revival #1 from Image Comics, Doc Savage #1 and Vampirella #1, both from Dynamite Entertainment. The surprise flops would be Amazing X-Men Annual #1 and Guardians of the Galaxy Prelude #2, both from Marvel Comics, and Godstorm: Age of Darkness from Zenescope Entertainment. Comics that I expected to be great, such as Angel & Faith Season 10 #3 from Dark Horse Comics and Original Sin #3 from Marvel Comics, and Green Arrow #32 from DC Comics, were absolutely solid and continued a very strong run ever since I started reading the title last year.
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.
I’ve never read a weekly comic series before, so DC’s Batman: Eternal is my first ever such experiment with the format. Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV and Jason Fabok did some amazing work with the first three issues of this series, and they really created a very interesting piece of Gotham lore that sees some of its biggest characters butt heads against each other. The return of Carmine Falcone has returned Gotham to a chaotic state and in this situation, the city’s greatest heroes are on the back-foot again and again. With some great stories so far and some great art, Batman: Eternal easily found its place on my weekly pull-lists.
But Batman: Eternal #4 changes things around. This time the issue is scripted by John Layman (he was originally one of the writers of the series, but later left, though his scripts are still used), although the story is still planned out by Scott Snyder and James Tynion IV. John is currently one of my favourite writers, largely due to his recent work on Detective Comics, but in this issue, there were too many red flags for me. The characterisation was just off. And while Dustin Nguyen’s work is usually something I like, here it didn’t work so well for me.
To celebrate Batman’s 75th anniversary, DC has launched Batman: Eternal as a weekly series that sees the various creators involved take on some really big events in the Bat-verse. In the first two issues, we see how Batman and Commissioner Gordon are embroiled in a conspiracy to cripple the effectiveness of the GCPD and take the latter out of the equation before the villains move on to Batman himself. And last issue, we also learned who was the mastermind behind all of it, someone who was a big name in the city five years back (in-universe) but later went off into the sunset. Now this mastermind is back and is craving revenge.
Batman: Eternal #3 continues the placement of all the pieces of the story. Batman, Commissioner Gordon, the various members of the GCPD and even some fanfavourite characters who’ve been absent in the New 52 since its launch. The entire story is going to have some big repercussions on the Bat-verse and this issue begins to truly hint how everything is going to change. The writing by Scott Snyder and James Tynion IV continues to be good, even as the artwork by Jason Fabok and the gang continues to impress.
Last week DC began its first weekly title of the New 52, Batman: Eternal. This is a story that affects the entire Bat-family and has some deep repercussions for all the heroes involved here. The first issue, penned by the Snyder-Tynion duo, was a fairly good look at a brand-new crossover in Gotham that sees the GCPD go up against Professor Pyg and come out with one of its best and brightest brought down in a shocking way. The two writers started the series on a bang and the art was also quite good, which helped a great deal. Now its time to look at what comes after.
In Batman: Eternal #2 we see a very focused story as Batman seeks to learn the mystery behind what happened in the last issue, and the other Bat-family members begin to get drawn in. What happened has some major consequences for them all, including Catwoman, because one of Gotham’s greatest criminal masterminds is returning to the city. Snyder-Tynion are still the ones to pen this issue as well, with the other contributing writers to the series serving as consultants. The same team from the previous issue is back basically, and they are all just as good as they were in the last issue, if not better. It is all about the big reveal at the end.