Monthly Archives: December 2013

Comics Picks of The Week 24.12.2013

Well, here we are. This will be the final CPoTW post of the year, even though today is the last new comic book day of 2013. Just the way these schedules all work out and all.

Moving on, this was a somewhat light week in some respects since I didn’t get around to as many comics as I wanted to. Quite a few titles slipped through the cracks, which is happening more and more given the sheer volume of how many comics are (generally) released each and every week. Still, one bright ray of sunshine in all of this was that I managed to read three entire graphic novels this week, all of them for Batgirl, with one featuring Cassandra Cain and the other two featuring Stephanie Brown, both characters who are much in demand among several outspoken communities of fans to be revived in the New 52. Having read these graphic novels, I certainly agree with that!

Anyway, 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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12 Days of Best SFF Characters of 2013: Day #7

For this new seasonal list of the best SFF characters I’ve read this year, my seventh pick is Vulkan, Primarch of the Salamanders Legion of Space Marines, from Nick Kyme’s Horus Heresy novella Promethean Sun, which gave us the first in-depth look into the character after a truncated series of cameos elsewhere in the series. As a fan of the Salamanders, this was the kind of story that I’d wanted for a long time but was unable to get it on release since it was offered as an expensive limited-edition product and was out of my range. But a re-release was offered this year and was a quick pick-up for me.

Hit the break to see why I picked this character.

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Best of 2013 Part 2a: Books

Since 2013 is now over, its time to do my second “Best of the Best” list, for the second half of the year from July-December. There were some really good reads in this period, and as always, picking the best has been a chore. I always try to keep these lists as diverse as I can and hopefully you agree.

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! Read the rest of this entry

12 Days of Best SFF Characters of 2013: Day #6

For this new seasonal list of the best SFF characters I’ve read this year, my sixth pick is Eli Monpress, from Rachel Aaron’s novel series of the same name. I read the second novel in the series, The Spirit Rebellion, earlier this year and it proved to be just as entertaining as I had expected to be, and it was a great follow-up from the first novel, The Spirit Thief.

Hit the break to see why I picked this character.

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Batgirl: Redemption (Graphic Novel Review)

I’m a huge fan of Barbara Gordon aka Batgirl (and for a long time, the Oracle). She’s been a favourite for a good long while and when I started reading the comics written by Gail Simone last year, I found myself a new outlet to appreciate the character even more. Far more. Those comics are a mainstay of my DC reading right now, and the series is one of my top titles each month (at least, whenever Gail Simone is the writer). A few days ago I decided to read some different Batgirl comics, since during Barbara’s tenure as the Oracle, other characters have taken on that mantle, most notably Cassandra Cain and Stephanie Brown, both of whom are absent in the New 52.

The first of the comics featuring these characters I read was Batgirl: Redemption, which marked the second run of the title and was only for three issues, tangentially leading into the entire Death of Batman arc. Featuring Cassandra Cain, written by Andrew Beechen and drawn by excellent artists like Jim Calafiore and Jonathan Glapion, this wasn’t the best introductory comics to read, but I liked it well enough. There are lots of things going on in here and I was lost a few times, but I still enjoyed the characters thoroughly.

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12 Days of Best SFF Characters of 2013: Day #5

For this new seasonal list of the best SFF characters I’ve read this year, my fifth pick is another DC character, Doctor Fate. Various heroes over the years have borne that name, most famously Kent Nelson in the Justice League animated series and in the live-action Smallville show featuring Superman in his younger days. Recently, as of last year, writer James Robinson had cast Khalid Ben-Hassin in the role for his Earth 2 series.

Hit the break to see why I picked this character.

Note: Apologies for the delay on this one. I’m currently busy traveling back and forth internationally, so time is at a premium Read the rest of this entry

The Amazing Spider-Man #700.2 (Comics Review)

For whatever reason, Marvel decided to put out a 5-issue mini-series set something during The Amazing Spider-Man but numbered after the final issue of the now-discontinued titled with Dan Slott’s #700. The first issue of the mini-series was released earlier this month and it was a nice simple issue that dealt with a relatively small scale problem in some ways, but was still pretty important for Spider-Mana aka Peter Parker. It was a touching story that promised a lot of cool, neat things and focused on the character being a hero.

The second issue, which followed the week after the first issue, is more of the same, but with the tension ramped up significantly. The message in this review is simple: a hero is a hero whether he or she is saving someone from a burning building or going up against a crazy supervillain. David Morrell’s script is very simple in its execution but the message is quite important, and the artwork by Klaus Janson and Steve Buccellato helps significantly in delivering that particular message.

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12 Days of Best SFF Characters of 2013: Day #4

For this new seasonal list of the best SFF characters I’ve read this year, my fourth pick consists of some more DC leading ladies, the Birds of Prey from Gail Simone’s first run on the title, with art by Ed Benes. At the time the team consisted of Barbara Gordon aka Oracle and Dinah Lance aka Black Canary. Helena Bertinelli aka the Huntress joined them with Gail Simone coming on to the title.

Hit the break to see why I picked this character.

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Origin II #1 (Comics Review)

A few years ago Marvel put out a 4-issue limited series called Origin which detailed the earliest years of Wolverine’s life. Casting him as the son of a landowner somewhere in Canada, the young James Howlett suffered through many trials and tribulations that ultimately led to him forsaking society all together. Several plot threads of that comic were reused for the X-Men Origins: Wolverine movie, and the adaptation took away from a lot of the mystique that that comic had created, the deep sense of character and history.

And now we have Origin II, the sequel to that series that tells of the time between Origin and later, when the character joined the army and fought in the first World War. This Wolverine we see is completely different from any I’ve seen before and I have to say that I’m really intrigued. Usually Kieron Gillen’s writing doesn’t work for me, but this has proven to be a different case. And the art is quite good, despite the dominant white palette. Still, really good.

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12 Days of Best SFF Characters of 2013: Day #3

For this new seasonal list of the best SFF characters I’ve read this year, my third pick is one of DC’s mainstay characters, someone who has had more than seventy years of history at the publisher: Prince Diana of Themiscyra aka Wonder Woman. Brian Azzarello’s current take on the character isn’t quite to my taste, but I’ve found lots to like in how she’s been written by writers like J. Michael Straczynski and Allan Heinberg.

Hit the break to see why I picked this character.

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Doctor Who: The Time of The Doctor Christmas Special (TV Show Review)

Almost a month ago we had the 50th anniversary special for BBC’s Doctor Who. It was my first ever episode of the show, and I quite liked it as you can tell from my review of it. With excellent production and cinematography, not to mention a really cool script with some great performances from everyone involved, The Day of The Doctor is one of the best episodes of any show that I’ve seen to date. Following that, I got around to finally starting on Doctor Who proper with Christopher Eccleston’s short-lived run from 2005, which was the first season of the revived show and five episodes, I’m really liking it.

Two nights ago we had the show’s Christmas Special for this year, which also marked the end of current incumbent Matt Smith’s tenure as the Doctor. Matt Smith spent three years as the Doctor, and this special is his final swansong, the third in the loose trilogy formed by The Night of The Doctor (a mini-sode), The Day of The Doctor and this one. Going in, I went in expecting something on the same level as the anniversary special, and in some ways it was, in some ways it wasn’t. All I can really say though is that I really need to move on to Matt Smith’s era!

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Justice League #26 (Comics Review)

Another Justice League release in December? Heavens, yes! With the delayed release of #25, #26 was definitely affected and it came out this week along with Forever Evil #4, which too had been delayed. Lots of delays on this event, and I’m starting to think that somewhere along the way DC has dropped the ball, in more ways than one. As my Forever Evil #4 review states, I found it to be a dull and disappointing issue at best. Sadly, that seems to be the case for this issue as well, making it two Geoff Johns issues in a row that I’ve found to be subpar. The one saving grace is that this issue is nowhere near as bad as Forever Evil #4 was.

Issue #25 was a character study on Owlman and it gave a lot of backstory on the character. This is in keeping with the other issues of this event across both Forever Evil and Justice League where we’ve seen the origins of the other characters. Ultraman was the first, then Owlman, and now we have Power Ring, Grid, Deathstorm, and the duo of Johnny Quick and Atomica in this issue. In and of itself, this is a decent enough issue but as part of the Forever Evil event, this is subpar because there is almost no plot progression. We don’t really learn what’s happening right now in the DC universe.

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