Monthly Archives: September 2013
Much as with DC’s New 52, Marvel’s reboot of its entire line-up (mostly) means that its a great place to get started with their comics. New books. New creative teams. The whole deal. I’ve tried to get a start on some of the titles, primarily X-Men but I’ve only stuck with a very small handful. With news of the Guardians of the Galaxy movie being a part of Marvel’s phase 2 for its cinematic universe, I decided to go ahead and read the current ongoing, written by a long-time Marvel main-stay, Brian Michael Bendis.
Marvel doesn’t exactly any cosmic books ongoing right now. As far as I can tell, Guardians of the Galaxy and Thor: God of Thunder are the only such, despite the fact that a lot of the Marvel events have an effect on the entire galaxy, especially when they feature villains like Thanos and Ultron and Galactus and who knows who else. My first taste of Guardians of the Galaxy has been excellent, and I look forward to getting down with the second volume.
Just about a year and a half ago, I read my first ever books from Wizards of the Coast: Paul S. Kemp’s excellent The Erevis Cale Trilogy (review). Set in WotC’s highly popular Forgotten Realms setting, these books took me for a great ride through a setting incredibly rich with characters and diversity. It was a… bold new world for me to explore, as someone who had never read any Forgotten Realms novels before, and who was heavily invested in Games Workshop’s Warhammer Fantasy setting. Paul’s books proved to be a great turning point and they inspired me to read more from WotC, and I soon followed up his novels with various others, such as the War of the Spider Queen series and Erin M. Evans’ Brimstone Angels series.
This year, I haven’t read nearly the same number of Forgotten Realms novels sadly, but I’ve started to change that around. I read R. A. Salvatore’s The Companions (review) just last month and a couple weeks ago I finished up Paul’s second Erevis Cale trilogy, Twilight War, constituting the novels Shadowbred, Shadowstorm and Shadowrealm. This trilogy proved to be even better than the first, and I’m really glad that I read it. Now I’m finally caught up with this series, right in preparation for reading Paul’s next Forgotten Realms novel, The Godborn, which is the seventh novel in this series and is the second novel that ties in to the current Forgotten Realms event, The Sundering.
The Justice League family of books have had some really disappointing one-shots for Villain’s Month, whether we talk about Justice League, Justice League Dark or Justice League of America. I haven’t read all the issues for these titles for this month of course, but I’ve read most of them by now, and only two have managed to stand out, Matt Kindt’s Justice League of America #7.1: Deadshot and Justice League #23.2 by Lobo, and for them, only the former has actually been a memorable one.
With this issue, supposed to feature the New 52 version of the Secret Society of Supervillains, I had some high expectations from it. The Secret Society was built up through all two years of the New 52 DCU so far, and the mystery has been a big part of their draw for me. But with the revelations of Trinity War last month, I finally wanted to see the Secret Society explored in full. This issue would have been the perfect place to explore that, but sadly it falls far from the mark.
I’ve said before that my initial excitement for Greg Pak’s Batman/Superman was greatly tempered by the actual issues themselves. There’ve been three issues in the main series so far, and then there’s this Villain’s Month tie-in issue, which gives us an origin story for one of Superman’s greatest villains. Across all four issues, I’ve faced one disappointment after another. And its been a case of disappointment in all respects.
Greg Pak has written three Villain’s Month issues: Darkseid, Zod and now Doomsday. The first of these was extremely disappointing, largely because of the story execution. The way it set things up, things looked promising but then it all fell flat. And I haven’t yet read the second issue. Probably for the best if I don’t go ahead and read it now, at this point.
Note: Spoilers follow.
Almost three weeks ago, three of my friends started a Kickstarter campaign to fund an original fiction anthology featuring the hot monsters of the year: kaiju. Reviewer and blogger Nick Sharps, and authors Tim Marquitz and J. M. Martin put together this project, bringing together a really great group of authors to contribute to this anthology, Kaiju Rising: Age of Monsters. I had a small contribution to the project in its early stages and I’m really great that its come together so, so well. The project got its target funding in short order and it is now at the 130% funding stage and has just achieved its fourth stretch goal at $13,000.
Now, here’s Nick Sharps, the man behind the entire idea, to talk more about the project and what the next stretch goal, at $14,000, holds for backers. I think its a fantastic idea and I already can’t wait to read this anthology when it eventually comes out through Ragnarok Publications. So off we go!
Infinity: Heist #1 makes a 3/3 for Frank Tieri, in terms of how good his three latest releases are. While this one is a tie-in mini-series for an ongoing Marvel event, his other two issues, Batman #23.3: Penguin and Detective Comics #23.4: Man-Bat, are tie-ins to DC’s ongoing Forever Evil event. All three comics are really good, so good in fact that they’ve made Frank a new favourite writer of mine. And if this issue is any indication, then Frank has lots of great things in store for future issues.
The larger story of the Infinity event is that there’s a huge cosmic threat and pretty much most of Earth’s heroes have gone on to battle that threat, leaving Earth largely defenseless. With Thanos also threatening the planet and the Mighty Avengers busy with him there really is no one around to keep all the crooks in line. And this is exactly where Infinity: Heist comes in.
I’ve been a fan of Black Library for a long time, going on about 11 years now, roughly. It all started with a copy of William King’s third Space Wolf novel, Grey Hunter, and was soon continued on with the first six novels in Dan Abnett’s Gaunt’s Ghosts series. Since then, I’ve read a lot of the novels, and the short stories, and the anthologies, in all the different formats that have been put out. I took a long break in the middle, around late 2008 however, and didn’t get back into the swing of things until later 2010, by when there had been some big changes to everything, new series, new authors, new formats even (the Hammer and Bolter eZine). It was an exciting time
Right up until late 2012 that is. For someone just getting back into BL fiction, those two years were well-spent, catching up on a lot of the stuff that had been put out in the intervening years, and during that period. I repeated often last year and the year before that, that BL was enjoying very much a golden year since the Horus Heresy series continued to gain more recognition, with each book going on the New York Times Bestsellers List, with lots of new authors coming in, some truly amazing artwork from a whole new generation of artists and so on and so forth. BL had even embraced digital publishing wholeheartedly and were making some great inroads.
But then, they started dropping the ball with their marketing. Curious, inexplicable decisions were being made. And a lot of it was coming together at the same time. And it baffled me. Still does. Which is why I’m writing this post at this time, and not before. Because by now I’ve seen a lot of the fall-out from all the decisions that they’ve made in the last year or so.
So read on, and enjoy. And if not, I welcome any opinion that differs from mine. Also, authors are welcome. Any time. You can find all previous Publishing and Marketing posts here.
At this point, I think its quite safe to say that Frank Tieri is another of my favourite comic writers working in the industry right now. Before DC’s Villain’s Month, I’d never heard of him, which is not surprising since I wasn’t really reading comics until last year and even then I was pretty limited in my reading. However, with last week’s Penguin issue, and this week’s Man-Bat issue, not to mention his Infinity: Heist #1 (review tonight!), Frank keeps impressing me.
I remember coming across the Man-Bat for the first time in Batman: The Animated Series, and then, just last month as I began to read the current arc of John Layman’s Detective Comics, which features backups that go into some depth with the character. Suffice to say, I think Man-Bat is a fun supervillain for Gotham, thematically and otherwise, and I’ve definitely enjoyed all the outings of the character that I have come across. Frank’s Detective Comics #23.4 is no different in that regard.
So it has finally happened. There were rumblings about it for a long, long time and then things finally began to click together earlier this year and peaked around San Diego Comic Con, when we started getting teasers and trailers for Marvel’s first live-action series, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. As someone who enjoyed The Avengers and is a big of fan of Joss Whedon’s Buffy, Angel and Firefly (and also Serenity, of course), this was really good news for me. I don’t know if Marvel has ever had a live-action series before (I seriously doubt they did), but this was clearly a big area where they were lacking when compared to DC, who’ve had several successful live-action series before, such as Smallville and the ongoing Arrow which is coming back soon for a second season.
Now, Marvel can finally lay claim to the big ticket and say that “year, we are doing it, and we are doing it good, and we are doing it no one has done before”. And I agree. The first episode of the brand-new show was fairly solid, and I think it had the right mix of everything to hook in a viewer and get them to come back for more next week.
Its no secret that I love Geoff Johns’ run on Aquaman in the New 52, which was my first time reading anything directly related to the character. The series really came out of nowhere and it has impressed me month after month as the storytelling and the art keep getting better, with some minor stumbles here and there. For me, this is the series that got me to really like, and even respect, Aquaman as a character, and for that alone, this series rates highly in my list of favourites.
Going into Villain’s Month, the coverage that Aquaman villains get wasn’t all that spectacular, focusing as it did on two characters we’ve already seen a fair bit of in the main series, but I was excited for them nonetheless. Aquaman #23.1 which Black Manta was good, but it fell short of my expectations. With the new issue, it is better, but it still fails to meet those same expectations, and that is largely due to the narrative decisions made by Geoff Johns and Tony Bedard.
As of writing this review, I’ve read 6 of the new Villain’s Month releases for this week and of all of them, only Justice League of America #7.4 has been any good. This is an issue I’ve been waiting for a long time and for some several damn good reasons. In Geoff’s backups for the Justice League comics, Black Adam came to be a villain that I really enjoyed reading about and he had a great outing in Justice League #21, which was very much a premier issue for both Shazam and Black Adam.
The Justice League and Justice League of America Villain’s Month titles have been mostly lackluster so far, either due to a lack of good writing or because they featured non-major characters such as Dial E and Killer Frost and Shadowthief. Only Matt Kindt’s Deadshot and now Geoff and Sterling’s Black Adam have made any kind of an impression on me.
Once again, DC’s ongoing Villain’s Month meant that most of the comics I read this week were all focused on the various DC villains. There were some good ones, and some bad ones, as usual. I didn’t get around to reading anything other than DC all that much, just a couple of Marvel comics, a Top Cow comic, and something from IDW, after a long, long time, so that was kind of fun, especially since those were G.I.Joe comics, which I love and adore.
Once Villain’s Month ends, I should be back to reading some graphic novels, and I have a lot of them lined up, particularly a few Top Cow books that I’m really looking forward to reading. Fun times!!