After the end of the 2-parter arc in late summer that focused on Deadman’s past, last month we got to see a future vision of the Justice League Dark, a future in which The Demon has joined the team and Zatanna is fighting some of the biggest battles of her life. It was a fairly good issue, but it didn’t really satiate my desire to read more of the JLD in the present DC timeline, since the current team dynamics are really excellent and writer J. M. DeMatteis has been dong some great work on the series, focusing on particular characters every few issues, and the art has never been better either.
In this week’s Justice League Dark #35, J. M. DeMatteis presents a story where Zatanna and Constantine have cast a really powerful spell that has torn the fabric of reality and sent the entire team hurtling through the multiverse. Separated from the others, Zatanna ends up on a world unlike any she has seen with monsters unlike any other either. And she meets someone completely unexpected, setting off a great story that explores Zatanna’s past and provides some great emotional moments. Tom Derenick and Scott Hanna are the guest artists on this issue along with Chris Sotomayor and they absolutely knock things out of the park.
The Secret Origins is one where each issue contains three short stories, each about a different superhero and supervillain in the DC universe and their respective origins. I’ve been fairly interested in the series for a while now, though I haven’t really gotten into it as yet. There’s already so many titles I want to read every month that just managing any more is a super-task. But still, the concept of the series is a good one and it really does seem to give you a brief taste of different characters and titles in a single package, so why not check it out yeah? Least, that’s what my thinking was when I picked up this week’s issue.
Secret Origins #6 is the origin stories of Wonder Woman, Deadman and Sinestro, from the respective creative teams of Wonder Woman, Justice League Dark and Sinestro, with some changes. Each story deals with the earliest days of the respective characters, and each story is executed well with enough callbacks to later events in the characters’ histories or even their respective ongoing titles. There is a right crazy mix of creators here, and I can definitely recommend this one, for it is a great standalone issue given you a great brief look at three of DC’s greatest characters.
After two rather dreary weeks of reading comics, where I didn’t manage to hit my recent highs of 40 singles/graphic novels a week, this week was much different. I got back on track for one, and moved through three entire volumes of DC’s Earth 2, almost catching up to the current status of the series.
The surprise hits of this week were Blood Queen Annual 2014 from Dynamite Entertainment, Deadpool’s Art of War #1 from Marvel Comics and Trinity of Sin #1 from DC Comics. The comics that disappointed me this week were Wytches #1 from Image Comics and Death of Wolverine: Logan Legacy #1 from Marvel Comics. Of the other titles, the ones that I really loved were recent ongoings like Flash Gordon #6, Unity #0 or even Ms. Marvel #9.
In 2012, as part of its second wave of New 52 titles, DC launched The Phantom Stranger, which retold the origins and journey of one of the publisher’s mystic mainstays. Then last year as part of its Trinity War crossover, it launched Pandora, telling the story of the second member of the Trinity of Sin. Now, both titles are unfortunately cancelled IIRC and that creates a void. The former was a great story once J. M. DeMatteis got on the title though Pandora didn’t hold much fascination for me, I must admit. And now, it looks like I just might get something I’ve been wanting for more than a year.
Trinity of Sin brings together Phantom Stranger, Pandora and The Question in a mystical team-up to rival DC’s current leading mystical title, Justice League Dark. These three are said to be the greatest sinners in human history, with Stranger being Judas Iscariot and Pandora having released the seven evils on the world thousands of years ago. But we never found out what Question’s sin was and why he feels such hate for the others. But that is all about to be answered I feel, in what is another great title from J. M. DeMatteis and artist Yvel Guichet.
Boom Studios’ Hexed, from Michael Alan Nelson and Dan Mora is one of the best new comics on shelves right now, and with good reason. It stars three incredible female character who are awesome in all sorts of ways, particularly the protagonist Lucifer, and it also has a really cool premise the likes of which is perfect for the medium itself. The first two issues were incredibly good, whether you talk about the writing or the art, and I foresee the series making its way onto several best of the year lists by the end of the year. It is just that good, and it is definitely going to make it on mind.
Hexed #3 continues the story of Lucifer caught up in the other-world where she got trapped a while back, even as her mentor Val Brisendine carries on in the real world, with the aid of her secretary Raina, who is new to all the kind of weird and freaky that Val and Lucifer are a part of. Recently, a major villain found his way into the real world and both Lucifer and Val are trying to stop him from doing too much harm. It is a great setup and Michael Alan Nelson’s story/script have definitely been great, same as the art by Dan Mora and Gabriel Cassata has been great, with Hexed #3 being the best of the series till now.
I started reading Django Wexler earlier this year and he has quickly become one of my favourite authors to read, thanks to his first fantasy novel, The Thousand Names and his cyberpunk-urban fantasy novella John Golden: Freelance Debugger. The latter is about a tech-guy named John Golden who pulls out pixies and other urban fantasy junk out of computer systems. Freelance Debugger was one hell of a story with a winning premise, and I loved it from the get go. Which is why I wanted to read the follow-up as soon as it was available, which happened a few weeks back.
Heroes of Mazaroth sees John tackle the MMORPG of the same name, the most popular such game in the industry. And the premise is simple: due to some pixie magic-wrangling and some idiocy at some point, Heroes has a pixie problem in that one of its greatest villains, the current top-end raid boss, has become self-aware and has left the game for a place where he isn’t repeatedly killed and looted by bands of adventurers. But things aren’t always as they seem and John has a really tough fight ahead of him now, one that only his masterful duo with his friend and partner Sarah can help him get through.
Stjepan Sejic’s Death Vigil has been one of the most fun new comics to come out this year, by far and it is also a comic that I absolutely love. Characters or story or art, Death Vigil is like a masterclass in storytelling in comics, and it is something that everyone should be reading. In the first three issues we’ve seen Stjepan bring together his main cast and introduce their enemies. The extra-length first issue helped immensely in that regard, the size of two issues really, and the following two regular issues have done much to expand on all of that.
Death Vigil #4 continues Stjepan’s excellent worldbuilding as we begin to learn ever more about the necromancers who have been causing all sorts of problems for the Death Vigil, a group of immortal guardians of the Veil between worlds who are led by none other than the Grim Reaper herself, Bernadette, alternatively referred to as Bernie or Dette in the comic. Aside from all the stuff we see about the villains, we also get to meet some old friends of the Vigil, whom we’ve seen before in small cameos, and that subplot here lends itself to some great drama, in typical Stjepan Sejic style.
After two straight weeks of reading 38 singles and 2 graphic novels, this week saw me lagging behind, with only 36 singles read and no graphic novels at all. Makes me kind of sad since there were comics that I was really looking forward to reading in GN format, but I just couldn’t get the time, and I’m seriously behind on my novel reading as well.
The surprise hits of this week were Brides of Helheim #1 from Oni Press, The Damnation of Charlie Wormwood #1 from Dynamite Entertainment and Gotham Academy #1 from DC Comics. The disappointing comics of this week were Fantastic Four Annual #1 from Marvel Comics and Green Arrow #35 and Green Lantern & New Gods: Godhead #1 both from DC Comics. Titles like Death from Wolverine #3 from Marvel, Angel & Faith Season 10 #7 from Dark Horse Comics, and Grayson #3 from DC comics continued to rock it.
Lee Collins’ She Returns From War is the sequel to his 2012 debut The Dead of Winter and it continues the adventures of Wild West spook-hunter Cora Oglesby. After the strong debut, I expected and wanted Lee Collins to do a similarly grand job with the sequel, which is exactly where is excelled at since She Returns From War is a great follow-up to The Dead of Winter. It starts off many years after the evens of The Dead of Winter, and charts Cora’s return to spook-hunting, after she gave up following the events of that first novel, wherein she learned a terrible secret about herself. And just like its predecessor, She Returns From War also made it to one of my “best of…” lists, this time for the “Best of 2013 Part 1“.
This review is a repost of the original review on The Founding Fields, which can be found here.
One of the many debut writers to get their start in 2012 with Angry Robot Books was Lee Collins, who arrived on the scene with his western urban fantasy novel The Dead of Winter, the first in his Cora Oglesby duology. When I picked up the novel, I didn’t really know too much about it, but by the time I was done with it, I was hungry for more. Lee mixed in western and urban fantasy really well in this novel and in Cora Oglesby he created a great female character that I wanted to see a lot more of. The Dead of Winter, aside from being one of my top favourite debuts of 2012, was also one of my top favourite reads of the year.
This review is a repost of the original review on The Founding Fields, which can be found here.
Thanks largely in part to Ron Marz and Laura Braga’s recent work on Witchblade, I’ve gotten into the groove of catching up on the back-issue trades of the series, from when Ron Marz started his run, and it has been a pretty damn good experience as well. But then, I expected that already since I’ve loved Ron’s recent work on Witchblade. Sara Pezzini is easily one of the best and most awesome female characters in comics, and while Laura’s art has been somewhat problematic, it has also been quite good, enough so that I keep coming back to the series for that.
After the end of the first arc, Ron Marz launched a brief interlude intended to catch up Rooney with Sara’s background, and also to tell some short stories such as the ones in Witchblade #175 which bring back characters like Patrick Gleason and also introduce new bearers of the Witchblade from years past. In Witchblade #176 Ron tells a straight-up horror story involving kidnapped children, and in Witchblade #177 he launches a new arc that sees Sara try to get some answers as to how Jackie Estacado’s wife came to be the current bearer of the Angelus. In both Witchblade #177 and #178, we see some of Ron’s best writing with his second run on the title, and also some great art by Laura Braga.