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Comics Picks For 24.09.2014

Lightning strikes in the same place for a third time. I mentioned last week that I read 38 singles and 2 graphic novels for that release week, and that holds true for this week as well. I had a chance to read a bit more, but I chose to use that time to get done with some of my novel reading and also catch up with some of my reviews. 15 titles out of 40 read were reviewed by me this week. I feel good!

The surprise hits of this week were Aliens: Fire and Stone #1 and Prometheus: Fire and Stone #1, both from Dark Horse Comics, Pathfinder: City of Secrets #5 from Dynamite Entertainment, Catwoman: Future’s End #1 from DC Comics, Hack-Slash: Son of Samhain #2 and Chew Volume 1  both from Image Comics. Comics which disappointed me this week were Edge of Spider-Verse #3 from Marvel Comics, Sensation Comics #7 from DC Comics, and… that’s it thankfully! The graphic novels of this week were Chew Volume 1 and Thor: God of Thunder Volume 3.

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: Robyn Hood #1-2 (Comics Review)

Thanks to Zenescope’s massive Age of Darkness crossover event that has been running since late last year, I came to know about their Robyn Hood comics, which feature Robyn Locksley as the publisher’s take on the Robin Hood tales. All the Robyn Hood comics I’ve read to date have been quite fun to read and in the Age of Darkness event I think that she has really come into her own, especially in the current Realm War: Age of Darkness series which is positioning her as a major villain. In the wake of the landmark Grimm Fairy Tales #100 issue, one of the new series launched by Zenescope is a Robyn Hood ongoing, something I’ve been wanting to see for a while now.

Before the advent of the new Robyn Hood ongoing, the character featured only in three 5-issue mini-series and a small handful of one-shots or ensemble offerings here and there. But now she has her own title and it really couldn’t be coming at a better time for her. Pat Shand guides the character in a post-Age of Darkness world where Robyn has taken on a vigilante aspect along with her friend Marian, where they’ve started working out as private investigators specializing in the mystical. It is kind of like how Angel did things in Joss Whedon’s Angel. It is fun, it is quirky, and Robyn and Marian are both awesomely kickass.

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Shadow Ops: Fortress Frontier by Myke Cole (Double Review)

With the upcoming release of Myke’s second novel, Shadow Ops: Fortress Frontier in the first quarter of 2013, I was one of the reviewers invited to review the book as I’d previously reviewed the first novel, Control Point. And the great thing is that Fortress Frontier is a much better novel than Control Point, especially since it has a much better protagonist and the story is much more interesting as well. If you liked Control Point, then Fortress Frontier is definitely going to be a better experience in almost all respects.

This review is a repost of the original review on The Founding Fields, which can be found here.

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Shadow Ops: Control Point by Myke Cole (Book Review)

Myke Cole is another 2012 debut author I discovered in that same year. His first novel Shadow Ops: Control Point presented an interesting world where magic and technology exist side by side and where governments around the world use magically-empowered special forces. It was a fun novel, albeit a protagonist who made it really tough to like him, and is one that I can certainly recommend, if only because of the world-building and the fact that it does get better towards the end.

This review is a repost of the original review on The Founding Fields, which can be found here.

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Future’s End: Catwoman and G.I. Zombie (Comics Review)

This is the last and final week of Future’s End one-shots and it seems that this is kind of like the first week where the one-shots were all generally damn good. Most of the ones I’ve read so far have been excellent, such as Harley Quinn or Justice League Dark, thankfully enough. There’ve been a few titles that haven’t made it to my “good” list, but they are kind of insignificant when compared to the good ones. One thing has been for sure though, that much as with last year’s Villain’s Month, a lot of the stories haven’t been planned out properly so that the overall general effect of this event month is one of cohesiveness.

Catwoman: Future’s End #1 and Star Spangled War Stories: Future’s End #1 (alternative, G.I. Zombie: Future’s End #1) are among two of my favourite reads of the week. The former I was hesitant about picking up since I was dreading Ann Nocenti’s vision of Catwoman’s future, but thankfully it turned out that Sholly Fisch was the writer and she wrote a really cool story here. The latter I expected to be great since Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray have been doing some wonderful stuff on the new series and this one is more of the same. Story-wise, they are both two of the strongest titles this month and even art-wise I’d say, with all the artists being quite spectacular.

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Grimm Fairy Tales: Realm War #3 (Comics Review)

In the wake of the post-apocalyptic ending of Grimm Fairy Tales #100, Zenescope launched the Realm War: Age of Darkness mini-series that expands upon the victory of the Dark Horde and presents a world changed and shattered by the same. The heroes are all scattered and the villains have supremacy everywhere. In the midst of all this, a brave few such as Sela and Britney and Shang and Gideon are trying to stem the tide even as the intrigues and biases within the Dark Horde make themselves more prominent than before. I quite loved the first couple issues of the series and have been waiting for the third ever since.

This week’s Realm War: Age of Darkness #3 picks up from slightly after the previous issue ended and it shows Sela and Britney go up against a foe that they are hard-pressed to beat, Robyn Locksley, the prophesied Child of Darkness. Robyn was a Realm Knight alongside the other two women up until the events of Grimm Fairy Tales #100, but since then she has gone over to the Dark Horde. How and why, we don’t know, but that’s part of the fun of this issue. Joe Brusha really gets into the thick of things here as he begins to interweave several mysteries and the art by Sami Kivela is even better than before Read the rest of this entry

Wayward #2 (Comics Review)

As has become the norm these days, I’ve started learning more and more about new books via social media and creator blogs. That’s how I learned about Jim Zub’s Wayward from Image. Jim is currently one of my favourite writers in comics, and Wayward #1 was a solid series opener when it debuted last month. Japanese urban fantasy with a great female protagonist? Hell, I’m all over that. The series opener had great writing, and the art by Steve Cummings, John Rauch and Jim himself was similarly enticing, really pulling you into the whole feel of the story and the world.

Wayward #1 introduced Rori Lane, an Irish-Japanese high school girl who moves to Japan to be with her mother after her parents’ divorce and then ends up getting embroiled in some really weird and supernatural things involving cats. Jim paced the first issue like a pro, developing the characters and the world in a sedate manner and that is exactly what he does in the second issue as well, out this week. A new character is introduced, Rori’s faces up to more challenges in the new city and every step of the Steve, John and Jim present some of the best art in comics right now.

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Comics Picks For 17.09.2014

Well, lightning might not strike twice, but I’ve managed yet another week where I read a ton of comics and also read two graphic novels. Granted, they were both on the shorter side, a bit, but still, 38 single issues AND 2 graphic novels. That is a personal record!

The surprise hits of this week were Alien Legion: Uncivil War #1 from Titan Comics, Godzilla: Cataclysm #2 from IDW Publishing Supergirl: Future’s End #1 from DC Comics, and Edge of Spider-Verse #2 from Marvel Comics. The surprise flops of this week were Original Sin: Thor & Loki #5 and Hulk Annual #1 from Marvel Comics, and Wonder Woman: Future’s End #1 from DC Comics. Of the remaining comics I read, they spanned the spectrum as always, and some that I expected to be really great, such as The Darkness: Rebirth Volume 2, Future’s End #20, Daredevil #8 and The Flash Season Zero #2 were awesome, so I’m quite happy with this week.

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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Future’s End #17-20 (Comics Review)

The first four months of Future’s End proved to be one hell of a ride. Though the title occasional faltered here and there, it was still a great, epic story that unfolded in a time five years in the future from the present timeline. Some of the things that I liked about this series was that it gave a lot of underdeveloped and underutilized heroes like Grifter, Deathstroke, Firestorm and many others a chance to shine. With all the different writers working on this, sometimes the stories could be a mess of different plotlines, but they were nevertheless quite entertaining and the artwork was almost always similarly impressive.

The fifth month (going by four issues equaling a month) sees a lot of revelations happening. For one, we finally learn what the deal with Superman in Future’s End is. Second, we revisit the ending of a previous issue in which Bruce Wayne of the future was captured by Brother Eye and Joker was brought in to experiment on him. These four issues contain some of my favourite moments in the series, though some of the things happening on Cadmus Island are beginning to give me a headache, and I’m still waiting for a lot more of the plot threads to be given their time to shine again.

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Hot Blooded by Amanda Carlson (Book Review)

Largely because of how good Full Blooded was, the sequel Hot Blooded had an easy time of making it to my “Most Anticipated Books of 2013” list. Reading Full Blooded made me want to take more of an interest in mainstream urban fantasy, and on that front the sequel to Amanda Carlson’s debut delivered quite nicely. Jessica McClain was awesome all the way through, and while there were some faltering steps in here, it was still a great read, and I’d definitley recommend the series.

This review is a repost of the original review on The Founding Fields, which can be found here.

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Full Blooded by Amanda Carlson (Book Review)

Full Blooded wasn’t my first urban fantasy read of 2012, not by a long shot, but it was definitely one of the most fun such books I read in that year. So much so that I made it a point to read more urban fantasy novels in 2013 (and 2014!), including some of the more… traditional types of urban fantasies that have become mainstream in the last decade or so. Full Blooded was a downright surprise, I can tell you that, and it also made me a fan of Amanda Carlson’s work, which has been quite satisfying an experience on all levels.

This review is a repost of the original review on The Founding Fields, which can be found here.

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Witchblade Volume 2 (Graphic Novel Review)

Witchblade is one of Top Cow’s biggest IPs, by far. Unless I am mistaken, it is one of the publisher’s only two titles to have made it past the landmark 100th issue, and the only one to have made it past the landmark 175th issue as well. And one writer who has shaped this incredible run, more than others I’d reckon, is Ron Marz, who enjoyed a seventy-plus issue tenure before he got back on the title with issue #170 last year. Of all the Witchblade stories I’ve read to date, Ron Marz’s scripts have been the most consistent and engaging and my current read-through of his run has been a very rewarding experience.

Witchblade Volume 2 continues everything that Ron Marz setup in Witchblade Volume 1, taking the Witchblade’s bearer Sara Pezzini into new environs and with new supporting cast members. Unlike the previous volume, this one contains many one-shots that slowly build-up a larger story continuing the plot threads that Ron introduced at the start of his run. If anything, I enjoyed this volume even more than the first, though it should be said that sometimes the stories can be a bit too much by-the-numbers. Like Phil Hester says in the introduction to this volume, Ron defies expectations and notions of genre limitations.

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