Monthly Archives: November 2013

Conan and the People of the Black Circle #2 by Fred Van Lente (Comics Review)

With Fred Van Lente set to take on writing duties on Dark Horse’s Conan the Barbarian from current scribe Brian Wood quite soon and Wood himself to pen a Conan crossover series with Gail Simone’s Red Sonja from Dynamite, Conan as a character is definitely at the forefront of the comics medium and the readers equally. Dark Horse’s run on the character has been quite successful to date and it keeps performing strongly and is one of the publisher’s top titles. They added to their roster this mini-series by Van Lente last month and after a strong debut, we are back for a second outing.

The first issue was quite a good one, as I mentioned in my review of it. As a fan of the character, I enjoyed it, and was quite looking forward to the second issue. And it proved quite equal to my expectations. The art felt a little less defined, mostly in the context of the backgrounds, but the story was definitely good, and I’d say that Van Lente really is off to a good start here.

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Aphrodite IX #6 by Matt Hawkins (Comics Review)

Earlier this year Top Cow relaunched its Aphrodite series, giving the character a new spin by putting her in a post-apocalyptic future where mankind has mostly destroyed itself and is now divided into two factions, one that holds genetic engineering supreme and the other that holds machines supreme. The first arc was an absolute cracker and as a fan of the character from her appearances in Ron Marz’s Artifacts series, I thoroughly enjoyed the new take.

With the newly-released #6, Matt Hawkins and artist Stjepan Sejic begin a new arc that picks up some time after the end of #5. The lead-up to this has been quite good and Matt doesn’t disappoint with the story. Aphrodite has been targeted by both sides of the ongoing conflict and a new faction has entered the mix, someone familiar and yet very different. The fun is in finding out how all the characters are continuing to develop and where they are all headed, as well as all the revelations about who and what Aphrodite really is.

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Aquaman #25 by Geoff Johns (Comics Review)

After twenty-six months on the relaunched title, Geoff Johns’ run finally comes to an end with this issue. Responsible for reintroducing the character to comics fans everywhere and making him as big a character as he could, Geoff revamped Aquaman and made him into one of DC’s definite heavy-weights. The title has recorded some high sales and the collected editions have even made it to the New York Times Bestseller’s List. Now that is impressive for a character who was largely relegated to suffering fish-jokes, despite always being a mainstream DC hero.

As is appropriate, Geoff closes out his run on the title by closing out his current arc as well, Death of A King. He created some wonderful mythology for the character, giving his backstory an epic scope that I definitely did not expect. Even with this final issue, he goes some places that I didn’t expect and he wowed me. He goes out with a definitive bang and leaves a teaser for his next crossover arc that is coming next year, Rise of The Seven Seas, which will unfold in the pages of Aquaman (under Jeff Parker) and Geoff’s own Justice League. Exciting times!

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Agents of SHIELD Season 1 Ep 9 (TV Show Review)

Last week I talked about how uneven Agents of SHIELD was in terms of story quality, and I mentioned that the show flip-flopped with good and bad storylines every other week with almost a regularity to it. Still, it is very early days yet for the show, we are barely two months into it in fact, and so I can sort of accept such unevenness since a lot of shows struggle at this point in their development. The creators have to work from scratch, have to spread themselves around and hit on the magical story that will truly resonate with viewers and keep bringing them back in droves every week.

I’ve said again and again that this show is a very promising one and that it needs to take chances and be truly bold. It has a solid premise, it just needs to work on its execution, which is where it is most lacking for now. This week’s episode does some really interesting things and best of all it finally gives a reason for why Agent Melinda May gave up field-work and took a desk-job. At the same time, we also get an indirect Thor: The Dark World tie-in, which is just in keeping with last week’s episode which was much more of a tie-in than this one. However, the show still continued its “villain of the week” pattern and that was most disappointing, more so since there was a distinct lack of any story elements related to the previous episodes.

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NANP: Method To Madness

On Thanksgiving Day I bring to you Kenny Soward, the author of the GnomeSaga series and a regular short fiction writer, for the latest on Names: A New Perspective. I haven’t had a chance to read his work yet, the first GnomeSaga novel Rough Magic still awaits me on my iPad, but he’s certainly one of the more interesting authors I’ve been meaning to read for a while. Kenny is also a fellow contributor to the Manifesto: UF, which saw the publication of my short story Dharmayoddha and his story Gold Dust Woman was a stand-out story. Hopefully after reading this post you’ll be interested in his work as well. I certainly encourage you to check it out at least.

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The Flash #25 by Brian Buccellato and Francis Manapul (Comics Review)

In the final week of the month, with the crossover tie-ins for Scott Snyder’s Zero Year wrapping up, we get a one-shot from Brian Buccellato and Francis Manapul, who’ve served as one of the most consistent teams in the New 52, with other artists coming and going throughout the entire run so far. I only started reading the title quite recently and I’ve been very impressed with the two of them. Their recent issues have been quite excellent and this one is the same, albeit taking a slight hit due to the whole crossover concept for Zero Year.

This is Brian and Francis’ last issue on the title as a team, with Francis moving on to Detective Comics while Brian sticks around for a few issues still. This is not the amazing story I expected them to end their run with, but its still pretty good. Like most of the other Zero Year titles, this issue shows a slice of events happening in Gotham just before the storm of the century hits the city, already suffering from lawlessness and loss of power. Its a fairly good look at Barry before he became Flash, and I quite enjoyed his portrayal, which is kind of how I imagine him being introduced in CW’s Arrow next week for his 2-parter cameo on the show.

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Justice League Dark #25 by J. M. DeMatteis (Comics Review)

Last month J. M. DeMatteis kicked off the Forever Evil: Blight arc, the fourth tie-in story to DC’s current mega-event, Forever Evil. Blight is an 18-part arc that will run through most of DC’s supernatural books all through March. Forever Evil was already DC’s biggest crossover in the New 52 relaunch, but with the addition of Blight, it has grown significantly, and for me, it definitely conveys a sense of scale that the event requires with all its involved internal complications.

Justice League Dark #24 was an excellent issue, the best in the entire series so far I have to say. Topping it would have been a tough job but I trusted DeMatteis to prove equal to the task. And he almost does. While Justice League Dark #25 isn’t as excellent as its predecessor, it is still a damn fine comic. J. M. DeMatteis continues to impress with each issue and this one is no exception at all. I enjoyed his Phantom Stranger #13 earlier this month as well and DeMatteis is definitely on a good streak right now (as long as the new Larfleeze holds up, which I’m sure it will!).

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Comics Picks of The Week 20.11.2013

Slightly slow comic-reading week again, but not by all that much since I got to read a graphic novel as well, so that balances things out a little bit. Really interesting week this one, particularly with the launch of a Harley Quinn ongoing from DC Comics and some really good second issues or the start of new arcs for some of the other regular books.

The month is closing out now though, not all that much time left, just a handful of days, and I’d like to end the month on a good high. TO that end, I might well be reading two graphic novels at least this weekend to catch up on things a little since that particular reading pile creeps higher every week or two weeks. Getting almost scary now!

In the meantime, here’s another edition of this new feature. Full reading list, as always, is available here and all my comics reviews are available here.

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Sleepy Hollow Season 1 Eps 1-3 (TV Show Review)

As a rule, I typically don’t watch shows with a supernatural bent to them. They don’t interest me all that much and my preferences are very particular within the genre. Buffy, Angel, Charmed, True Blood, Vampire Diaries, these are the ones I’ve watched and liked, except for Vampire Diaries which just bored me so much that I stopped mid-season. Vampires are good, if done right. Witches are good, if done right. But generally, I don’t watch them since I enjoy science fiction/fantasy shows much more, stuff like , Stargate, Smallville, Andromeda, Star Trek, Defiance, Game of Thrones, etc.

Recently I started watching Sleepy Hollow on recommendation from a couple of friends on Twitter and because of the overall positive buzz that the show was getting. It also helped that I really liked the trailer for the show, which promised a very interesting take on Washington Irving’s The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. The Headless Horseman urban myth/folk-tale/legend is a really interesting premise and I’ve seen numerous adaptations of it over the years. Among all of them, Fox’s adaptation stands out as the best, across the three episodes that I’ve seen so far.

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Scooby-doo Team-up #1 by Sholly Fisch (Comics Review)

Growing up, my television entertainment was defined by Cartoon Network. And in those days, the 90s, no program was as popular or as timeless as Scooby-Doo Where Are You? Or that’s what I like to think. CN ran a ton of reruns in those days and this program was one of them. It was all cheeky humour, over the top situations, excitable plots, lots of goofy-creepy and a talking dog with a bunch of teenagers/young adults who solved mysteries. I used to love it, and still do. You hand me an season of SDWAY today and I’ll watch it straight without taking a break.

Which brings me to this comic, the first in a new ongoing (hopefully an ongoing!) from DC that pairs up the talking mutt with Batman and Robin in a match that is almost made in heaven. SDWAY originally debuted in the mid-60s, roughly around the same time as the goofiest and most hilarious Batman live-action series ever, so it makes sense to pair the two of them together. Sholly Fisch, who’s worked on numerous animated projects over the years, especially DC ones, makes for an almost natural writer for this, and she delivers the goods in full.

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Doctor Who: The Day of The Doctor 50th Anniversary Special (TV Show Review)

I have, admittedly, never seen an episode of BBC’s Doctor Who. A few years ago, back in college, I once made a list of some really popular SFF shows and at the top of the list was Doctor Who, but I was somewhat turned off by the fact that the show had been going on since the 1960s or thereabouts. I was rather clueless at the time and not much aware of the whole “seasons” nature of television shows in the western media. In India, television shows are broadcast 5 times a week for the most part and so the old-me couldn’t get around the concept of a show that had been alive for more than 40 years. And I didn’t really know any Whovians at the time either, so that was a factor as well.

Recently I’ve had an urge to start watching the show, mostly because a large number of my friends on social media are from Britain and most of them are Doctor Who fans, aside from friends of other countries with similar interests. With the 50th anniversary of the show this year, I thought I’d finally get onboard the whole thing and so I decided to watch the 50th anniversary special yesterday. And it turned out to be a darn good episode, for a first timer to the entire franchise.

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NANP: The Sound of Names

Today I welcome debut author Laure Eve and her novel Fearsome Dreamer to Names: A New Perspective and ask her to share her thoughts on the importance of names in (her) fiction. A fellow cake and Haagen Dasz fanatic, she launched Fearsome Dreamer through Hot Key Books last month and even as all the praise rolls in, she is already hard at work on the sequel, coming next year. As a recent convert to urban fantasy, Fearsome Dreamer promises to be a really fun read and in anticipation of reading the book, I invited Laure to the blog and hope you enjoy her guest post as much as I did. Definitely one of the more fun guest posts I’ve had the pleasure of featuring here.

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