Last month writer Christos Gage and artist Rebekah Isaacs closed out their first arc on the new season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and it was a pretty damn awesome issue by all counts. Pretty much perfect in fact, an issue that I really, really liked. The two of them were a really solid team and with this new season of Buffy they’ve made me really nostalgic for the good old days of watching Buffy and Angel on the small screen. That’s as it should be, by my count, since these are tie-in comics that continue on the story of the shows once they finale’d themselves and Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 10 especially is one of the best new comics of this year.
The new arc on this series sees Rebekah Isaacs replaced by the duo of Karl Moline and Cliff Richards, and what’s great is that the two of them stay really close to Rebekah’s own style. Christos still tells a damn good story, one which involves all the members of the team as they try to get back to some semblance of a normal life after the recent events involving Dracula and the demon Maloker. The personal story here really speaks out to some real problems the team faces and I loved how that transitioned to a really great mission.
Stjepan Sejic is one of the best artists in the business, that’s for sure. Undeniable. But the question is, is he also a good writer? That’s what last year’s Ravine and this year’s Death Vigil, not to mention his fun series Twitch (Teen Witchblade) has been trying to answer. While my first run-in with Ravine wasn’t so good, Death Vigil #1 took me by surprise last year and set a pretty high standard where comedy supernatural horror is concerned. Stejpan both wrote and drew the comic and it proved to be one of the absolute best issues that I’ve read all year and the start of something great.
Released this past week, Death Vigil #2 continues from where the first one left off and we meet up with Bernie, Sam and Clara attempt to wind-down after the events of the first issue, which was almost twice the length of a regular issue at that! Previously, we saw a few glimpses of Sam’s previous life, before he died and became a member of the Death Vigil, not to mention Clara’s own origin as a member, so this time Stjepan focuses on the second half of that tale. We see exactly how Sam finally joined and how he and Bernie convince Clara as well. It was a pretty damn good issue, both in terms of the story and the art.
In an effort to catch up, this is my second “Comics Picks For…” post today, and largely because I just want to keep track of my reading really. It is a real effort otherwise as my reading list is seriously outdated. Plus, I like to promote good properly and this is a great vehicle for that other than reviews. In this week, I didn’t really download any new comics so the list of comics read and the top picks are just what I read in that week, instead of including the new week’s releases as well.
The surprise hits of this week were Armor Hunters: Bloodshot #1 from Valiant Comics, The Wicked + The Divine #2 from Image COmics and Cartoon Network: Super Secret Crisis War: Johnny Bravo #1 from IDW Publishing. No surprise flops this week, just comics that didn’t work for me, like Star Wars: Darth Maul: Son of Dathomir #3. The other comics were all decent at the least and I even managed to read a trade collection this week, beginning the start of my big “Witchblade read” from Ron Marz’s epic run on the title.
As per my plans, I didn’t do one of these posts in the past 2 weeks since I was on a holiday. And a great holiday it was indeed. I didn’t get to do more than a very small handful of reviews, more like just two or three in all, but I managed to read a fair bit and kept myself on target for my comics reading.
The surprise hits of this week were Storm #1 from Marvel and Star Spangled War Stories #1 from DC Comics. The surprise flop of the week would be Batman #33 from DC Comics. Not exactly a bad comic but just a disappointing one. All the other comics were pretty much good, excepting Flash #33, where I still can’t really connect with what the new creative team is doing there. I wanted to read a trade paperback comic as well during this week, but the first few days of the vacation were very busy and all these comics were pretty much read in the last 2-3 days of the week so that didn’t happen.
Christos Gage and Rebekah Isaacs launched the tenth season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer in great fashion some five months ago, and they’ve made this book into one of my top favourites of the year, something that I can depend on being super-good month after month. As I’ve said before, I got introduced to this due through their work on Angel & Faith Season 9 and they’ve brought the same awesomeness to this title. Reliving the adventures of this entire group through this new lens of comics is an incredible experience and the best things about it all remain the best still.
In last month’s Buffy #4, we saw that Dracula, out of his own hubris and inconsiderate manipulation of Xander, had begun to turn into the demon Maloker, the demonic father of all Vampires. In the midst of all the great character interactions, Christos Gage told a really involved story about friendships, love, betrayal, infatuation and manipulation, and he continues all of that in last week’s Buffy #5 as the first arc of the new season draws to a close. Not to be outdone, Rebekah also turns in some fantastic artwork coupled with brilliant colours from Dan Jackson.
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!
Early last year, IDW Publishing did a 4-part mini-series in which it unveiled a new look at the history of the Foot Clan. Titled, well, The Secret History of The Foot Clan, it explained the bad blood between Splinter and Shredder, as well as other things about the Foot that I had never known before. And it was awesome. Writer-artist Mateus Santolouco did a brilliant job with it. And then IDW announced plans for several one-shots set in between its ongoing TMNT series that would each focus on a particular hero/villain, and having read a few of them, I have to say that they’ve done a decent job. Together, the micro-series and the 4-part have done much to inform me about the larger TMNT world, and it is all awesome.
The latest release of the Micro-Series is Splinter, the fifth in order of publication, and it takes a very interesting look at the history between the men who were once known as Oroku Saki and Hamato Yoshi, or alternatively, Shredder and Splinter. In many ways, the flashbacks in this issue inform more of what Mateus explained and showed in The Secret History of The Foot Clan and I found this issue to be a most fascinating read. Erik Burnham, who co-wrote The Secret History of The Foot Clan writes a gripping yarn about a father’s strengths and weaknesses, and artist Charles Paul Wilson II delivers some stunning visuals here.
This post is coming in at a slightly later time than I’d prefer, about two weeks late at least, but I guess I can’t really “complain” when the lateness is due to my own wedding which took place exactly two weeks ago on the 5th. It has certainly been a very busy and intense time, what with being engrossed in all the marriage stuff and then even after that there’s been one thing after another. Reading time has definitely suffered greatly, which makes me a little sad considering how much I love reading, but eh, all for a good cause really.
With half the year now over, it is time to do the first of my “Best of the Year” posts, for the period 1st January to 30th June. There’s been a ton of books that I’ve read in this period as usual, and I made a very strong effort to read more tie-in fiction than I usually do, so the list is most assuredly going to reflect that. Tie-in fiction is a very important part of the publishing industry I feel and it always deserves some recognition. Now if we could only get an award started that celebrated tie-in fiction and all would be alright with the world. Or so my thinking goes.
Let’s see what makes the cut and which comes close then!