Blog Archives

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 10 #5 (Comics Review)

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.

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Comics Picks For 16.07.2014

In what is probably my last “Comics Picks For…” post since I am going on vacation for the next two weeks, what I like is that despite not hitting my usual goal of 26 comics read, I did manage to read the same as last week, 21 in all. All in all it is a good number I think since I got most of my usual titles out of the way and even read a few different things, some of which were really good.

The surprise hits of this week were Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Micro-Seres #5: Splinter from IDW Publishing and Harley Quinn Invades Comic Con #1 from DC Comics. The surprise flop of the week would be Robin Rises: Omega #1 from DC Comics. Expectedly great comics such as Secret Avengers #5 from Marvel Comics and Unity #9 from Valiant Comics were pretty damn good. I’m quite happy with the fact that I’m managing to read as many comics as I have for the past two weeks, given everything else. I expected the number to be much lower after all.

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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Best of 2014 Part 1b: Monthly Comics

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!

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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Micro-Series #5: Splinter (Comics Review)

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.

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Best of 2014 Part 1a: Novels

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!

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Banished by Liz de Jager (Book Review)

I haven’t had much of a chance to read debut novels this year, but I have read a few since this is sort of an unofficial challenge for me, to see how many debuts I can read in a year alongside all my other reading. Debut novels offer something very interesting and part of that is finding out a new voice, a new style, a new character, and a new story and world to go along with all of that. Of course, some debuts are good, some are bad. Some are really awesome, some are really terrible. It really runs the entire slider scale. And when a good friend and (former) fellow blogger makes it as a debut, then I have even more of a reason to read his/her book.

Banished is Liz de Jager’s first novel, and it is a superbly-crafted urban fantasy tale that takes some baseline genre concepts and then does quite an interesting twist on all of it, something that really works out well by the end. Kit Blackhart has become one of my favourite characters of the year, by far, and a lot of that is owing to how well she is characterized by Liz and the sorts of adventures that she gets dragged along into. And I really loved the whole “two minutes to midnight” feel of the story as well, which provided ample stakes and tension for the reader to latch on to.

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Those Poor, Poor Bastards by Tim Marquitz, Kenny Soward and Joe Martin (Book Review)

In the short time that it has been operating, Ragnarok Publications has been doing some great work by all accounts. Their kaiju anthology that was released early this year, Kaiju Rising: Age of Monsters was an awesome piece of kaiju fiction that covered all different sorts of genres and styles and what not, and the men behind the publisher have been going full at it for a good long while now. A few months ago Tim Marquitz, Joe Martin and Kenny Soward launched a new series for Ragnarok, called Dead West, and it was promoted quite heavily as a new spin on an old and popular genre.

Those Poor, Poor Bastards is set in the American Mid-West during the mid-1800s and it features zombies and holy magic and the American Frontier and everything else that goes with all of that. Having read some of Tim’s fiction previously, I was expecting the story to be quite bold and brash, with some rough humour thrown in for good measure, and I wasn’t disappointed in that at all. Tim collaborates on this with his Ragnarok co-publisher Joe Martin and with author Kenny Soward, with the three of them turning out quite an interesting zombie western that unfortunately does have a few flaws.

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Comics Picks For 09.07.2014

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!

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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Death Vigil #1 (Comics Review)

I’ve said this many a times before, and I say this again: Image has really been outdoing itself since last year. It has launched so many new and different series that I’ve lost count and many of the ones that I’ve read have been absolutely fantastic. I mean, for me, I either love an Image book or hate it, and the best part is that I love more than three-quarters of what I read from the publisher. And when the talent involved is as good as it has been on some of these titles, then that is even more cause for joy, for favourite writers/artists combined with a great product really mean a solid product long-term.

Death Vigil #1 is the first in a new series that Image launched last Wednesday and it features story and art both by Stjepan Sejic, one of my absolute favourite artists in the industry and a man who delivers on the most gorgeous visuals ever, no matter what character or setting or what have you he works on. I’ve loved almost all his work that I’ve seen to date and with Death Vigil he turns writer yet again after doing a collaboration with Ron Marz last year, and I have to say that I like this more than his other series. It features some great characters and some great art and some great story, even though it is almost twice the length of a regular comic!

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Penny Dreadful Season 1 Ep 8 (TV Show Review)

Going into the finale, at only just eight episodes, one might wonder what it is exactly that Penny Dreadful has been building up to. Is it the story of Frankenstein’s Monster, Caliban, and his search for an immortal mate? Or is it the larger story of the hunt for the Master Vampire who has Sir Malcolm’s daughter Mina in his spell? Or could it be the mystery of the libertine Dorian Gray and his frivolities? Or perhaps the story of Ethan Chandler and the possibility that he is the Wolf Man after all, being one of the stellar crown jewels of penny dreadful stories that the show evokes? The answer, of course, is that it is all of it.

Aptly titled “Grand Guignol“, the entire main act of the finale takes place in the Grand Guignol theatre where Caliban works as a stage-hand and where he has some measure of contentment and peace, having experienced the charity and friendship of one of the actors, and perhaps something more from another one. All of the storylines come to a close in this finale, though some are frustrating dead ends, and that’s where the finale failed for me, though I enjoyed the resolutions to the Sir Malcolm/Vanessa/Mina arc and the reward at the end of the Brona/Ethan arc.

Note: There will be spoilers here.

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Comics Picks For 25.06.2014

This past has week has actually been a pretty rough week. I think there were about 3 days in all where I didn’t even put up any posts on the blog. And it took me almost 10 days to read just 2 short books, which is pretty damn rough by my standards. And as of yesterday morning I was well in the position of barely having read even ten comics in the past week. But since yesterday evening I set out to change that and I have managed to read thirty comics in all, which is the first of such a milestone for me. And possibly the last since my wedding is this Saturday and things are gonna kick up a notch from tomorrow afternoon.

The surprise hits of this week were Clive Barker’s Nightbreed #2 from Boom Studios, New Avengers Annual #1 from Marvel Comics and Batman: Eternal #12 from DC Comics. The surprise flops would be Star Wars: Rebel Heist #3 from Dark Horse Comics (again!), Batman #32 from DC Comics and Original Sin: Hulk vs Iron Man #1 from Marvel Comics. Comics that I expected to be great, such as Grimm Fairy Tales Presents Helsing #3 from Zenescope Entertainment, Ms. Marvel #5 from Marvel Comics and both Superman #32 and Justice League Dark #32 from DC, were every bit what I wanted them to be. And I’d like to make a special note of Justice League #31 which proved to be quite interesting after the snoozefest that was Justice League #30 in the month prior. No graphic novels in this week, but that’s fine.

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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Justice League Dark #32 (Comics Review)

When J. M. DeMatteis came onboard Justice League Dark last year with Forever Evil: Blight, he brought several new characters to the team roster, characters like Nightmare Nurse and Swamp Thing. It was a really interesting time and after about two years of the same team as brought together by Peter Milligan and Jeff Lemire, DeMatteis really shook things up. And what really got to me was the character of Nightmare Nurse. With Forever Evil: Blight now over, he’s been delving a bit into Nightmare Nurse’s past and it has been a most diverting tale.

This week’s Justice League Dark #32 sees the splintered JLD team try to get Asa (Nightmare Nurse) out of Zatanna’s body after their attempt to get her out of the body of Alice Winters failed and her soul ended up in Zatanna’s body. But it is not going to be such an easy thing this time since Zatanna is a font of incredible magical power, most well-suited to Asa’s own brand of magic and mayhem. DeMatteis writes an absolutely cracking script here this time though the art by Andres Guinaldo and Co. wasn’t always to my liking, it must be said.

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