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Witchblade Volume 1 (Graphic Novel Review)

In the last couple years Top Cow’s Witchblade IP has become one of my favourite reads in comics. Whether it is Witchblade/Sara Pezzini in the pages of Artifacts or Witchblade or in any crossovers here and there, I’ve always loved her as a character. Sara Pezzini to me is one of the best female characters in comics, by far, easily a match for the greats such as Wonder Woman or Storm or Batgirl or Black Widow. And if there is one man out there who has shaped my experience of Sara Pezzini, it is Ron Marz, who has written more Witchblade than any other writer and has had a long run on the core title as well.

Witchblade Volume 1, from my understanding of things, marks a new phase in the life of the protagonist Sara Pezzini as she continues to bear the heavy burden of being the bearer of the Witchblade, a mysterious artifact that has bonded itself to her and has allowed her to face criminals of all stripes and even the more supernatural of individuals. This was Ron’s first arc on the title, and for me it proved to be some of his best work to date, not to mention that the artwork by Mike Choi and others was great as well, capturing the feel of the city and the dark tones of the story.

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Comics Picks For 10.09.2014

With everything going on right now, I had doubts whether I’d be able to get through many comics this week but it seems that this was indeed the week where I surprised myself in a big way. Not only did I catch up on quite a few new titles, but I also managed to read two graphic novels this week, one of them at almost 300 pages no less!

The surprise hits of this week were Doctor Who: Eleventh Doctor #2 from Titan Comics, Judge Dredd: Anderson, Psi-Division #2 from IDW Publishing and Inhuman #5 from Marvel Comics. This week’s surprise flops were Caliban #6 from Avatar Press, Grim Tales of Terror #3 from Zenescope, and Superman Unchained #8 from DC Comics. Of the others, they were mostly great, and I loved that both G.I. Joe Volume 1 and Witchblade Volume 3 are among my absolute favourite graphic novel reads of the year!

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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Debris by Jo Anderton (Book Review)

2012  was the year when I really got back into reading on a regular consistent basis, and I started the year off by reading some great novels from Angry Robot. Throughout the year, I read a number of the publisher’s titles, old and new alike, and one of these was award-winning author Jo Anderton’s Debris, the first in her Veiled Worlds series. Coincidentally, Jo’s award was for Debris itself and when I got done reading it, I could definitely see why it did, because it truly is a fantastic read with a rather unique take on things. Recommended reading!

In light of The Founding Fields currently suffering some major site issues, I’m going to be reposting my reviews from the site to the blog, so enjoy away!

The original review can be found here.

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Hexed #1-2 (Comics Review)

I haven’t read a whole lot of comics from Boom Studios to date. I was onboard with their Hypernatural series for a while back in 2012, and read a few other titles here and there, but didn’t really stick with anything. Which is something that I really should correct since a lot of the publisher’s titles are really interesting, such as Polarity mini-series, or even the fact that they publish the Planet of the Apes comics, which I’ve wanted to read for a good long while now. With my increased reading capacity each week, perhaps this is the time for getting back on track with that and I already have a great title that I’m following at present.

Michael Alan Nelson’s Hexed debuted last month and the first issue was awesome. An urban fantasy involving a female thief who steals magical items so bad guys can’t get to them? Let’s chalk that up to being an awesome masterpiece. The first issue involved some crazy action involving a post-Impressionist masterpiece and led to some really interesting developments for the hero, Lucifer. And the second issue continued that, with even more action involving a trip to metaphysical realms and using magic items to stop the bad guys. This has to be Michael’s best work to date, that I’ve read, and the art by Dan Mora and Gabriel Cassata is mind-blowing as well.

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Chastity #1-3 (Comics Review)

Dynamite Entertainment has often been about dark adult fantasy, much as with Zenescope Entertainment, though the two publishers have an entirely different focus despite often focusing on the same genres. The recent year and a half has seen Dynamite experimenting quite a bit with female-led comics, with titles like Dejah of Mars making their debut, or others such as Red Sonja getting rebooted with massive promotional clout behind them. Back in July, the publisher launched another female-led title, an urban fantasy horror that saw the protagonist take on vampires, Chastity.

Marc Andreyko came to my notice recently with his run on Batwoman for DC, where he wrote quite a few good issues, the handful that I read at any rate. I kept meaning to go back and get up to date on his run, but that didn’t pan out. And then I heard about his new title Chastity for Dynamite and I got excited, especially after looking at the previous pages. Now with three issues out, I have to say that Chastity has hit most of the right buttons for me and that I am really enjoying the story here. Dave Acosta and Thiago Ribeiro’s artwork hasn’t slouched either, making the title one of the more consistent new titles in recent months.

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Death Vigil #3 (Comics Review)

Whoever said that dying by your lover’s hand, and then being resurrected by an ancient order of guardians to fight on for the fate of the entire world is meant to be serious has clearly not read Stjepan’s Sejic’s magnificent Death Vigil. Just two issues in, this series has been utterly awesome, in part because of Stjepan’s ever-awesome artwork, but also because how light-hearted the story itself is. It doesn’t take itself seriously, but it does recognize the importance of things. With Death Vigil, Stjepan has hit the sweet spot and to be honest, there are few comics out there right now that are better than this, very few.

Death Vigil #3 continues the tale of Clara as she adjusts to her new life with the Order of the Veil, with the Grim Reaper herself, Bernadette. The new issue is very much about Clara getting into the thick of things, doing what the Order is meant to do and her fellow protagonist Sam is just as awesome in this issue as he has been in the previous ones. And the same goes for Bernie as well, though she takes a backseat to Sam and Clara’s adventures. As I mentioned with the sweet spot, Stjepan’s script is compelling and fun and engaging once again, as is his artwork, which has never been better.

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Comics Picks For 03.09.2014

With DC Comics’ Future’s End event kicking off last Wednesday, this was a great week for reading since I got through the comics pile faster than I’d believed I could. And I even managed to read a graphic novel!

Anyway, the surprise hits of this week were Action Comics: Future’s End #1 and Batwing: Future’s End #1 from DC Comics, Death of Wolverine #1 from Marvel Comics and Dr. Mirage #1 from Valiant Comics. The surprise flops of the week were Ex-Con #1 and Red Sonja: The Black Tower #1 from Dynamite Entertainment and Aquaman: Future’s End #1 from DC Comics. The others were more or less all great, such as The Phantom Stranger: Future’s End #1, Green Arrow: Future’s End #1, Black Widow #10 or even Angel & Faith Season 10 #6. And of course, can’t forget Ron Marz and Mike Choi’s Witchblade Volume 2, which was a right cracking read!

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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Grimm Fairy Tales: Warlord of Oz #1-2 (Comics Review)

In light of some of the recent events that have happened in the Grimmverse, such as the Age of Darkness brought about by the Dark Queen and the Dark One, I’ve become much more invested in the setting than I was a few months ago. Whether Wonderland or Oz or Myst, I want to read more about the different Grimm settings as imagined by the creators at Zenescope, in their style of (dark) adult fantasy. Considering I’ve become fairly familiar with Myst and Wonderland and Neverland in recent months, I thought that I’d try and get familiar with Oz at the same as well.

Warlord of Oz follows from the Oz and Tales From Oz mini-series, which introduced Dorothy Gale to the wider Grimmverse and which created an interesting interpretation of this classic story. I haven’t read the previous series, diving straight into Warlord of Oz in fact, but I didn’t feel as if I was missing out on something. Joe Brusha and Jeff Massey create a really involved story here that brings back Dorothy to Oz from Kansas and the art by Miguel Mendonca, Grostieta and the rest is also good for the most part, elaborating on Zenescope’s particular take on Oz and its inhabitants.

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Doctor Mirage #1 (Comics Review)

Valiant Comics has made a great effort in recent times to expand its roster of ongoing titles, whether that be Unity last year or Armor Hunters this year, or any of the others like the rebooted Rai. With each title the publisher has offered something different from the reader and it is clear that each title is slightly marketed to different readers, though there may indeed be some overlap. In all of this, what is undeniable is that Valiant is putting out one strong title after another, and as the publisher increases its roster yet again this month, we see something really great unfold.

The Death-Defying Doctor Mirage, or just Doctor Mirage began this past week with a #1 issue that is rather exceptional. It quickly introduces the reader to the protagonist, Shan Fong aka Doctor Mirage, and then launches into the meat of the story, with lots of great supernatural bits thrown in. Jen Van Meter’s first issue here is impressive, both in terms of the characterization and the story itself, and the art by Roberto De La Torre and David Baron is equally impressive though it can sometimes feel a bit less well-defined than it could be. Still, I loved this issue and will definitely be around for a few more.

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Sundowners #1 (Comics Review)

I recently started reading Tim Seeley’s works with his now-ended run on Top Cow’s Witchblade, his new series Grayson for DC Comics and his work on the multi-author Batman: Eternal weekly series. He is certainly among one of my favourite writers, though I haven’t always liked his work but regardless, he is one of those writer-artists that I want to experience more of. His Revival series for Image is a title I’ve long had my eye on, and will hopefully be getting a start on soon enough. In the meantime however, I have his brand-new series for Dark Horse, Sundowners, to tide me over.

This new book has to be the trippiest book I’ve read since Max Bemis’ Polarity from Boom Studios (last year, I think). It presents a world where superheroes are real, but not in the sense that they actually have powers, they just are regular people acting as vigilantes in most cases. And they dress up of course. There are five main characters here in this issue, and each offers something different to the reader. In many ways, the trippy nature of this comic makes it one of my favourite Tim Seeley reads to date, and the art by Jim Terry and Sean Dove is also impressive, really getting across the dirty and gritty nature of the world.

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Justice League Dark #33-34 (Comics Review)

Next month, almost all of DC’s titles are going to jump forward five years from their present timelines, to bring them to parity with the on-going Future’s End weekly series. It is going to be an interesting month, though I can’t help but groan at the massive time-jump, and part of that interest is what is going to happen to characters and titles that I love, such as Justice League Dark. Since the end of Trinity War last year, the title has really stepped up to become one of my favourite titles with the JLD crew being among my favourite titles. J.M. DeMatteis has shepherded the supernatural Justice League quite nicely in the last year, and the recent issues bear that out.

Boston Brand aka Deadman has kind of operated on the fringes of the Justice League Dark since he joined up back in 2011. Most of the stories told so far have focused on the other members and he didn’t really get a chance to shine until quite recently with the Forever Evil: Blight story arc that saw him possess the Sea-King from Earth-3. With Justice League Dark #33 and #34 however, DeMatteis has changed that around and even delved into Boston’s history and his time at Nanda Parbat. As ever with the writer, the story is well-told and artist Andrew Guinaldo has finally settled into the title as well.

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Grimm Fairy Tales: Realm War #1-2 (Comics Review)

When Grimm Fairy Tales #100 ended on a big damn cliffhanger in which all the magical realms of Wonderland, Oz, Myst and Neverland merged with Earth to create an altogether new realm, my jaw pretty much dropped. It was a monster ending to a landmark issue of one of the most fun titles I’ve read in the last two years. Zenescope’s Age of Darkness event was all building up to this in the last 9-10 months, and it was gratifying to see a big ending like this. But of course, this was just the start of something new, for while the villains had been ascendant up until this point, now it was the heroes’ turn to put their best foot forward.

Realm War: Age of Darkness #1 and #2 deal with the fallout of Grimm Fairy Tales #100. The heroes were beaten back at great cost to themselves and both Lucinda the Dark Queen and Malec the Dark One proved the power of their Dark Horse decisively and without any real contest. Now, they consolidate their rule on the merged realms and much of these two issues deal with what has happened since the cliffhanger, bringing us up to date with all major surviving characters and creating new story tangles in a way that is intrinsic to Grimm Fairy Tales. Read the rest of this entry

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