Monthly Archives: November 2013

Afterlife With Archie #2 by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa (Comics Review)

A month ago, I could never have imagined the concept of mashing Archie with zombies. I mean, that’s as far out of the norm as you can get right? Its like mixing Stargate with classical zombies. Which is why the execution has to be pitch-perfect. There can’t be any room for a drop in quality or anything. You have to be consistently good or the premise is going to just conk out like a bad engine. Which is why I approached Aguirre-Sacasa and Francesco Francavilla’s Afterlife With Archie #1 with a little trepidation last month, and why I was so impressed with it. They hit the exact right notes and delivered a fantastic story.

The second issue, which launched this week, continues the story of this quite horrifying zombie apocalypse as it ravages the quiet, wholesome and good-old-fun town of Riverdale. In the first issue, we saw how one person’s mistake, a second’s longing, and a third’s compassion brought about this whole event. In the new issue, we gain a wider perspective on things as the plague spreads through Riverdale and as the heroes begin to coalesce and decide their future.

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Godborn by Paul S. Kemp (Book Review)

This is the year that Wizards of the Coast goes really big. They are in the midst of launching the next edition of Dungeons & Dragons and to tie-in with that they are releasing a series of linked novels that tell of how all the changes to the D&D settings, such as the Forgotten Realms, end up happening. Each book is written by Wizards’ top talent and links to existing series. Bob Salvatore’s The Companions is the first tale of The Sundering and it is also the latest novel in Dark Elf Drizzt Do’Urden’s epic saga that has lasted for a great number of novels.

Paul S. Kemp’s latest, The Godborn, is the second book in The Sundering and it is also the latest in his Erevis Cale series that has lasted for seven novels thus far and doesn’t look like its going to stop anytime soon. I read the novel last month and it proved to be just as damn good a read as the previous two trilogies. There were a lot of plot threads left open at the end of the Twilight War trilogy, even as Paul provided a very satisfying, but emotional, conclusion. With the new novel, he addresses many of them and creates yet more mysteries, maintaining a healthy balance between the two.

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Superior Spider-Man Annual #1 by Christos Gage (Comics Review)

Last year Marvel made controversial history when it killed off Peter Parker and brought in the notorious supervillain Doctor Octopus as the Spider-Man. Doc Ock is the one who killed Peter and took over his body and his memories, essentially becoming Peter Parker, and reinvented the persona of the hero as Superior Spider-Man. As I hadn’t really read any Spidey comics before, I wasn’t really interested in the status quo, not until I began to read Al Ewing’s Mighty Avengers and read Mike Costa’s 3-part crossover Arms of the Octopus.

This is my first comic reading fully about Spider-Ock in his own title. And I have to say that I really liked it. I’ve read Christos’ Angel & Faith comics before and I really liked them, so Christos is definitely a writer I’m willing to try on any title. He brings a simplicity to this issue that really works. This is a fairly good stand-alone story that ties into the larger story being told by Dan Slott, the series writer, and I think it served as a good intro to the reinvented character. It definitely did for me.

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Arrow Season 2 Episode 7 (TV Show Review)

Arrow has been building up a lot of steam for a while now. Till now we’ve been exposed to a lot of character drama in the show and season 2 has given us some new characters and situations to wrap our heads around. Season 2 has proven to be far superior to season 1 in pretty much every single way that matters and its been a hell of a ride. New characters like Brother Blood, Dr. Ivo, Black Canary and others have done really good work, while older characters like Detective Lance and Roy Harper have exceeded themselves. But nothing compares to what this week’s episode did with Moira Queen.

In the previous episodes there’s been an undercurrent of a mystery about the Queen family, something so bad that it could destroy the Queen family. Well guess what, State vs Queen reveals that episode in all its glory, and it pretty much throws Moira Queen’s court case for her complicity in the destruction of the Glades into turmoil. It was a rather unexpected twist, but not all that unexpected either since I had kind of been thinking along the same lines, I just got the scale of the whole thing wrong. And that’s not all that happens in this episode. We get to see kick-ass action on the Island too. And an old character from season 1 makes a return as well. Now that was a cliffhanger.

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Red Sonja #5 by Gail Simone (Comics Review)

One thing that I love about Gail Simone’s story arcs is that she writes strong, consistent stories regardless at what point they are set. Be it the beginning, or the middle, or the end, her writing always entertains in all sorts of different way. The Movement, Batgirl, Birds of Prey, she’s been excellent in all of them, and her revival of Red Sonja in collaboration with artist Walter Geovani is further proof that she is one of the best writers in the industry, no doubts about that.

As a fan of the character, I was immediately on board with this series even before the first issue had been released. After that, it was only a matter of form since Gail and Walter gave me a story and a character that I could really latch on to. They’ve put Sonja through some really tough moments in the previous four issues, and now she is on the mend, and spoiling for a fight, which she does get by the end, except for a slight unforeseen complication which was perfect.

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NANP: More Than Just A Name

So here we are. Almost four months have passed since the last Names: A New Perspective was featured on the blog. I took a long break in between, but now I’m back and for the first post, I give you Patty Jansen, an Australian author who has experimented extensively with self-publishing and often talks about her experiences, sharing the nugget of wisdom that she’s learned over the years. I have several of her novels on my reading longlist since she writes some of my favourite type of fiction: Hard SF, Military SF, and epic fantasy. She is one of the first authors I reached out to for this brand-new edition and I’m really excited to have her on board, so here she is.

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Publishing and Marketing 09: Reading Women In SFF

This is my 400th post. Naturally, I thought that I would do something a bit different from all the reviews I’ve been doing of late, for almost four months now. Reviews are well and good, but that’s not all that this blog is about. It is also “A Place For The Unrestrained Consumption of Good Fiction”. And this means a lot of things. One of the foremost is talking about good fiction, or just fiction in general beyond the context of a review. And that’s what this post is about. I’ve touched on this topic a little in the past, but with this “anniversary” on hand, I feel it is a good time to talk about it some more.

Over a year and a half ago, a friend pointed out to me that my reviews were all disproportionately of fiction from men. It was an eye-opener. It wasn’t something that I had considered before, and I was startled that such a bias had crept into my current fiction consumption, despite the fact that I consumed a lot of fiction from women growing up. And that’s what I’m here to talk to you about.

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Agents of SHIELD Season 1 Ep 8 (TV Show Review)

Agents of SHIELD is a show that often tests my patience. One episode will be good, another not so much. And this flip flop continues in a loop every two weeks. There’s almost a regularity to it. It is one of the most uneven shows that I’ve watched, which is saying something since I’m quite a fan of Joss Whedon’s other shows and the ones I’ve seen have all been excellent, losing steam only about the time that they hit their final seasons. The show is extremely promising, but it just doesn’t capture the imagination as well as it should be.

Last week’s episode was kind of a bore. It lacked all the excitement and character drama of the episode the week before. But this week’s episode somehow turns it around. It is better than last week’s episode, primarily because it makes a strong effort to tie-in to the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe. And there is some interesting character development as well, with regards to Agent Ward, one character on the show who desperately needs that kind of development.

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Forever Evil: Rogues Rebellion #2 by Brian Buccellato (Comics Review)

Well, they’ve gone and done it. First the Rogues decided to see what the Crime Syndicate was all about. They went to the big meeting at the location of the crashed Justice League Watchtower, they heard the spiel, they were mildly interested. They came back to Central City, only to find it pretty much wrecked and the heads of humans and apes mounted on sticks. Then the Deathstorm and Power Ring showed up and told them to destroy the city. Captain Cold said no. And that, as they say, was that.

Brian Buccellato’s take on the Rogues has been one of the best things about his work. Whether it is in the recent issues of The Flash or in the recent one-shots and the new mini-series Rogues Rebellion, he’s made the characters into a really interesting team, characters that you can get along with and be invested in. He continues that in the second issue of this Forever Evil tie-in mini-series, and he does it with style. The one big kicker though is that the first half of the issue was already done in Geoff Johns’ Forever Evil #3, and so half this issue is just recap material unfortunately. Entertaining though!

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Harley Quinn #0 by Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner (Comics Review)

There isn’t any comics issue or character in recent months, or even in the last couple years as far as I know, who has drawn as much attention and controversy as Harley Quinn, who got a new ongoing series today from veteran industry professionals Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner. The controversy had largely to do with an apparently insensitive artist submission that was put together for this title in September, which involved some test art panels that completely lacked the context of the actual issue. Do a search for it and you’ll find all there is to know about it. That’s not what this post is about thought.

I love Harley Quinn as a character. Bruce Timm and Co. introduced her in Batman: The Animated Series nearly two decades ago and since then she’s gained a life of her own, becoming one of the most quirkiest characters in comics, and that’s saying something since she debuted as the sidekick to the Joker, the Clown Prince of Crime and you can’t get any (insanely) quirkier than that guy. And yet, Harley one-upped him. With this new issue, a zero issue no less, Harley Quinn is back in the saddle with lots of great humour and some fantastic artwork.

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Comics Picks of The Week 13.11.2013

Managed to read a handful of more comics this week, since there were a lot of titles released that I was really interested in, and a couple from previous weeks that I hadn’t been able to get around to at the time. As usual, it was all a mixed reading experience, with some really good comics mixed in with some bad ones and a few that straddle the fence between the two extremes. More positive ones than negative ones.

No graphic novels this week sadly, since this week was a real slog in reading, again, and I was struggling for time in general with everything else too. Perhaps this coming week can be different!

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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Samurai Jack #2 by Jim Zub (Comics Review)

Last month, IDW launched a Samurai Jack ongoing series, penned by Jim Zub and drawn by Andy Suriano. It was a fantastic launch with a story that was very true to the core concept and feel of the old animated series from Cartoon Network and the same could easily be said for the artwork as well. As a fan of the old animated series, I had tremendous fun with the first issue and had been waiting ever since for the second issue, which goes on sale today.

The second issue continues the story that Jim began in the first issue, in which Jack learned of a new way to get back to his own time and ultimately defeat Aku, the demon who is his greatest enemy. Jim continues with everything that made the first issue so good and he maintains the same vibe and atmosphere that defined the animated series. What really matters is that the second issue is pretty much every bit as good as the debut issue.

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