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.
The End Times have begun for Warhammer Fantasy. The hordes of Chaos are pouring in from the North even as vast armies of Daemons lay siege to Ulthuan and the Skaven rise up from the Under-Empire to claim dominance on the surface world. Bretonnia and the Empire face enemies of their own and heroes and villains rise up as well, only to fall before each other. It is a dark time indeed for Warhammer Fantasy, made all the darker by the fact that the greatest villain of the ages, Nagash himself has returned to challenge everyone everywhere. The Return of Nagash is the tale of how the necromantic liche is resurrected and what part the Von Carstein vampires play in that.
In the age when the Nehekharan Empire was still strong and vibrant in the Southlands, Nagash rose to power as the greatest sorcerer of his times, and he eventually went on to become the grandfather of all vampires everywhere. He clashed with heroes like Sigmar of the Empire, who eventually went on to become a God to its people, and his is a name considered one of the foulest by all the good people of the Old World. His is a legacy that cannot be forgotten, and that is exactly what Josh Reynolds builds upon in this novel. Through the eyes of the liche Arkhan the Black and Mannfred von Carstein, we see how the End Times are changing the world, and get a hint of the role that Nagash is going to play in it, not to mention the immense challenges that must be overcome for his return to become an undisputed reality.
A few days ago I brought to you a review of City of The Damned by David Guymer. Alongside last year’s Road of Skulls by Josh Reynolds, this novel was kind of a fresh breath of air in that there hadn’t been novel-length tales about one of Warhammer Fantasy’s greatest duos and biggest success in several long years. While, for me, Josh Reynolds’ two novels have done much to capture the feel of the original books by William King and the follow-ups by Nathan Long, City of The Damned didn’t really work for me, although it was a decent enough read I suppose.
About three weeks back Black Library launched Gotrek & Felix: Kinslayer, which is said to be the first book in the Doom of Gotrek Gurnisson Saga, ostensibly marking the beginning of the end for Warhammer’s greatest Dwarf Slayer. The new novel takes some plot-threads from City of The Damned and carries them on, but for the most part Kinslayer is a stand-alone, and is also a part of the greater End Times saga as well that is currently running through Warhammer Fantasy, akin to some of the events that Wizards of the Coast has done with Forgotten Realms previously. Unfortunately, while Kinslayer had lots of great moments and even revealed the shames of Gotrek and his friend Snorri, it also carries over several mistakes and negatives that can be found in City of The Damned.
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.
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.
Following the close of the first big arc on the new season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, writer Christos Gage launched into another fun arc that saw the Scoobies deal with ghosts of the haunted house variety even as they discussed some real-life, immediate problems such as housing. Christos’ consistency on the title was matched by guest artists Karl Moline and Cliff Richards who did a great job of staying consistent themselves with how Rebekah Isaacs and Dan Jackson had handled things before and together the three of them delivered another great Scoobies adventure..
This week’s new issue sees Xander moving in with Spike, which is followed by some excellent bonding and bromance between the two, and also sees the rest of the gang dealing with their own problems, such as coming to terms with some of the recent changes in their lives. A good part of the issue is devoted to how Xander feels about Dawn, and how Spike feels about Buffy and that was kind of fun, to see some of the lingering threads addressed here. As always, I only have good things to say about this creative team, and nothing negative since they are so damn good each month..
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!
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.
The new Vampirella series is everything that I could ask of it and more. Nancy A. Collins and Patrick Berkenkotter have gotten off to a great start with the first three issues as they put Vampirella through her paces against a sort of enemy that she has never fought before. There’s a fair bit of originality in the story and the real fun part is seeing all the different kinds of vampires cooked up by the creative team, from the traditional to the monsters and freaks. To be honest, this is a damn good title, whether we talk story or art, and that in itself is something to celebrate..
In the new issue from this past week, Vampirella’s quest to find the rarest vampires in the world and drink their blood continues as she travels to the Greek island of Lamos this time, on the hunt for a vampire called the Lamia. The Lamiae are a very different breed of vampire than the usual ones, being a part of Greek mythological lore even, and this time Vampirella has to seek some… outside help. The story was as engrossing as always and Collins really brought out the dark humour of the book, even as Berkenkotter and Co. continued to deliver on some great visuals of Vampirella and the monsters.
The Strain premiered almost two months ago and since then it has had quite a bit of success. With the successful format of the “half-season” shows, The Strain has quickly become one of FX Productions’ successes and with Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan backing it up (they are also the creators of the story and characters etc through their The Strain novels), it looks set to become even bigger next year when the second season begins airing. For me, The Strain is currently one of the best horror shows on cable networks, easily the match for others like Sleepy Hollow and even, to a degree, Dracula.
The first two episodes of the show set the basis for what was to follow, establishing the series ground rules, mysteries, character relations etc. As introductions go, these two episodes were pretty good. Wonderful blend of horror, mystery and character drama. The next three episodes go even further, and the stakes are raised for every element that you can imagine. Whether it is Abraham van Setrakian finally getting around to killing vampires, or Ephraim and Nora learning the truth of Regis Air 753, or Vasiliy encountering the reason why the city’s rat problem has gotten so much worse. All the excellent stuff from the first two episodes continues here, and it is a blast to watch.
Thankfully, I’m finally settling back into the groove with comics reading and, most importantly, comics reviewing, as I managed to review a fair bit of titles this week and even caught up with reviewing some previous titles that I’ve unfortunately had to neglect for one reason or another.
The surprise hits of this week were Cartoon Network: Super Secret Crisis War: Billy and Mandy #1 from IDW Publishing, Wolverine Annual #1 from Marvel Comics and Vampirella #3 from Marvel Comics. The surprise flop of the week would be Batman: Eternal #20 from DC where the title seems headed downwards just when it was getting once again, and The Wicked + The Divine #3 from Image where the title took a nosedive this week after a second issue that was really good. No graphic novels again sadly, though I hope to correct that that this week. I hope..