Monthly Archives: January 2014

Witchblade #172 (Comics Review)

If you’ve been following Top Cow news in the last couple of months or so, then you know that writer Ron Marz is back in the saddle for Witchblade, this time with artists Laura Braga and Betsy Gonia. Working in a world set after the events of Tim Seeley’s run with the Rebirth mega-arc, the new run is a great place for new readers to get into the series, especially for someone like me who kind of just tapered off with the title and has only read a few issues here and there. The new creative team has started off fairly strong and the Borne Again arc looks set to be a really good one.

The previous two issues were slow-burners, but not this one, for this one has much more action this time and it is paced well along with the backstory reveals, not to mention a guest appearance by someone unexpected! What I liked about this issue was that it really opened up the world of Witchblade lore for readers, whether new or old, and Laura’s art continues to be good, despite a few problematic areas here and there.

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Arrow Season 2 Episode 12 (TV Show Review)

After all the exciting epilogue-ish reveals of last week’s episode, Arrow did one better this week by dropping a big bomb on the proceedings and showing that whatever we as viewers thought was going to happen with certain characters isn’t quite going to happen like we imagined. I love the format that the show has evolved into, where the last five minutes or so are often used to drop hints and clues as to the larger story arcs of the season. Last week’s highlight was we saw Slade Wilson as Deathstroke, in full gear, laying down justice on four of Blood’s henchmen for the price of Blood failing in his mission. This week, well, this week was quite special altogether on a different note.

Once again, we have an aptly named episode. While the name “Tremors” might give you certain ideas about the plot of the episode, it is also something more, it is about the shake-ups in the lives of the main cast and the supporting cast. Each and every character in the show is impacted to a certain degree here and their world is shaken up because of it. All I can say on seeing the episode is that I am still in love with the show. It is going from strength to strength and is finally picking up the momentum after the recent six-week break.

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The Flash #27 (Comics Review)

The news is finally in that Robert Venditti and Van Jensen will be writing The Flash starting from #30 and the art will be headlined by Brett Booth. I’m both excited and apprehensive about this since while I love Brett’s artwork, Venditti’s writing on Green Lantern after taking over from Geoff Johns has led me to drop the title from my pull list. But still, I’m interested to see where things are going. In the meantime, we had that one-shot by Christos Gage and Neil Googe that was pretty decent and this week we have the first in a 2-parter by returning (for temporary measure) writer Brian Buccellato and guest-artist Patrick Zircher.

I have to say that I love the idea of one-shots and 2-parters because most of DC’s comics in the New 52 have been built around the concept of 4-7-issue arcs, with some being even longer, and while I enjoy reading arcs, I’ve been quite hungry for more easily consumable stories. Which is why I loved The Flash #26 last month and why I’m enjoying this week’s The Flash #27 as well, in part. More than that, I’m excited that Brian is back for this, even though his co-conspirator Francis Manapul is not. And Patrick Zircher is an amazing artist so it was great to see his take on the Scarlet Speedster as well.

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Catwoman #27 (Comics Review)

The only Catwoman issue I’ve read, in the New 52 or otherwise, is the recent Catwoman #25 which was a Zero Year tie-in and was written by one of my favourite writers, John Layman, and drawn by Aaron Lopresti and Art Thibert. It was a really fun issue that I picked only because it was a tie-in and because John and Aaron were behind it. I’ve heard far too many negative things about the current Ann Nocenti run to really be interested in picking up the series for long-term. But, that’s kind of where the Gothtopia crossover story stepped in.

John introduced Gothtopia in his short story for Detective Comics #27 and just a couple weeks ago we had Gail Simone doing a Gothropia issue for Batgirl, which I really liked. Both stories were excellent, so I managed to drum up some drive to pick up this issue. And I kind of wish that I hadn’t. Because this was mostly a very tiresome read with some odd artwork here and there. Not at all what I expected, even with the low expectations that I had of it. I’ve tried Ann Nocenti’s Katana in the past as well but that title didn’t work for me either. So I suppose, Ann Nocenti’s work really isn’t for me. Maybe I should try something else that she’s done that’s received some acclaim.

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NANP: Naming For Names

Joining me on the blog today for the final guest post of the 4th edition of Names: A New Perspective is this year’s debut author Liz de Jager, with her novel Banished which comes out very soon from Tor, less than a month in fact! It is one of the novels of the year that I’m very excited about. Liz is a great friend and a fellow, albeit former, book blogger, so that’s even more reasons for the excitement. Its always great to see bloggers and friends get a start on their publishing careers like this. Plus the concept of the book is extremely promising so I have very high hopes for it. Anyways, in one of her first blog posts for the book’s promotion, here’s what Liz has to say on the topic of names.

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Serenity: Leaves On A Wind #1 (Comics Review)

A few years there was this out-and-out space opera science fiction show called Firefly. It didn’t last long, only like half a season or something, but in the years since its untimely and abrupt cancellation, it has become one of the great cult classic television shows. Fan reaction to the show was so severe that Joss Whedon eventually came back to do a movie, Serenity, to tie off some of the loose ends that were left open. I saw all of it in my college years, and I remember that it was a really good show and movie. I certainly enjoyed both. So when Dark Horse announced last year that they were going to continue the story in a comics series, I was very ecstatic.

Written by Joss Whedon’s brother Zack Whedon, and drawn by Georges Jeanty, this issue is everything I could ask for, story-wise. It carries on from where Serenity left off and it lays some really good groundwork for what happened afterwards, since in the timeline, eight months have now passed since the truth about the Reavers was exposed in the movie. Art-wise though, I have my reservations, because most of the characters look nothing like how they are on the show/movie. I mean, I realize that there would be differences, but the differences here are on the order where I can’t even recognize them!

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Justice League Dark #27 (Comics Review)

The road to the end of Forever Evil: Blight begins here in Justice League Dark #27. It has been five months coming, but we are finally moving towards the finale here. First with Trinity War and then with Forever Evil, this book has become one of my favourites of the New 52. The current series writer J. M. DeMatteis has done excellent in carrying on from where Jeff Lemire left off at the end of Trinity War. Now, I’ve liked everything that he has done with the current crossover and this issue in particular really does its job well.

This is one of DC’s “Dark” novels and in that vein, DeMatteis does an excellent job of showing just what that entails. This is not just any other superhero book, this is a superhero book which combines magic with the weird. We have seen a lot of big stuff happen in this book thus far and the trend continues. Great action all throughout, great magic all throughout, and Mikel Janin doing some of his best work with his fellow inkers and colourist.

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Comics Picks of The Week 22.01.2014

So this past week proved to be a rather busy week. Lots of comics came out and I think there were something like 30 titles I was interested in, not to mention my huge backlog which stretches quite a bit too. Still, I read quite a few, and I’m mostly happy with them. Interestingly enough I read almost twice as many Marvel titles as I did DC, which was a surprise considering that I enjoy DC far more and find it to be a much easier universe to get into. But, I suppose its the whole All-New Marvel NOW! relaunch at work since three of the titles I read were part of this.

My Superior Spider-Man read-through continued as well with Volume 2, which I really, really enjoyed, and will have a review going up soon for the first two volumes. I couldn’t really be bothered when the title launched last year but now that I’ve gotten a taste of it, I want more. Doc Ock as Spider-Man is really interesting and really good.

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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NANP: Names With Meanings

Slightly delayed by a day since I totally forgot about this yesterday, but I’m excited to welcome author Michael J. Sullivan to the blog for Names: A New Perspective. Michael used to be a self-published author with a very successful fantasy series but his books were picked up by Orbit Books in 2011 and he published the sixth and final novel in the Riyria Revelations novel Percepliquis  through them (reviews of omnibus book 1, book 2, book 3). I read all the books in 2012 and they proved to be quite fun. His first prequel novel The Crown Tower (review) was also excellent, and I’m excited for all the other stuff he has coming out, such as the series set in the old times of the Riyria setting. That should be fun. Michael also writes some great articles about the publishing industry and he really helps everyone learn about the industry at large. Here’s what he has to say on the topic of names.

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Inhumanity: Superior Spider-Man #1 (Comics Review)

In 2012 and, by extension, 2013 we had the greatest surprise in comics in recent years. Or so I believe. Doctor Otto Octavious essentially killed Peter Parker and transferred his consciousness to his body. Now, for more than a year, the “new” Peter Parker has been the Superior Spider-Man, marking a new age in comics where a villain became a hero in an attempt to genuinely do some good. I’ve certainly never read a story like this. Dan Slott and Ryan Stegman’s Superior Spider-Man Volume 1 proved to be an eye-opener in many ways for me, and through all his appearances in other comics, I’ve definitely come to enjoy Superior Spider-Man.

With Marvel’s latest event, Inhumanity, things are gearing up for the launch of the event’s premier series Inhumans in April and in the lead-up we are getting several titles each month which lay down the groundwork. Inhumanity: Superior Spider-Man #1 is one such title that, while it has only a passing connection to the event for now, helps to flesh out the ordinary lives of New Yorkers as they deal with the fallout of the Infinity event and the Terrigen Mists causing widespread mutations all over the world. One of my favourite writers by far, Christos Gage tells a really personal story in this issue and he is assisted most handsomely by Stephanie Hans who turns out one of the most gorgeous comics I’ve seen in a long time.

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All-New X-Factor #2 (Comics Review)

It has been quite an interesting month in many respects as far as Marvel’s latest round of relaunches is concerned. This is their big month, marking the release of several new series such as Avengers World, All-New X-Factor, Black Widow and more. It seems that in the first months of all the new series, Marvel is double-shipping the titles, and with Black Widow at least that has really paid off since Nathan Edmondson and Phil Noto have delivered on an amazing book. I read All-New X-Factor #1 a couple weeks back and it was not so good. It was a letdown basically.

But All-New X-Factor #2 seems to be turning that around. I enjoyed the story for sure. I wasn’t really expecting it to be better, but it was and I have to say that there’s a big difference between this issue and the debut issue. The art is slightly better as well, although it could be more well-defined at the least, so there’s that. When all is said and done, I’m now getting interested in the title, and if things continue to improve, I can see myself sticking around for a while.

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Dracula Season 1 Eps 1-3 (TV Show Review)

I remember watching the Gary Oldman and Keanu Reeves Dracula movie with the former in the titular role and really enjoying it. It was a bit hard to follow at times, but overall I enjoyed it for sure. That was almost a decade ago and ever since I’ve enjoyed reading various types of vampire fiction. My fascination with the genre started with Buffy and Angel however, and after all these years, I’ve seen and read a lot of different stuff and enjoyed most of it. Novels such as Matt Forbeck’s Carpathia are really fun and shows like True Blood are the same. I’d credit the latter for really invigorating my interest in watching vampire shows since it got me to watch Vampire Diaries, although I didn’t like the show that much and gave up in the middle of the first season.

And now we have NBC’s Dracula which stars Jonathan Rhys Meyers in the titular role and is very much a reimagining of Bram Stoker’s classic Dracula. Having seen the first three episodes of the show by now, I have to say that while the series often feels cliched and clumsy, it does have some good moments and that I find the characters to be quite fascinating. And the motivation behind Dracula doing what he does is also quite interesting although it seems somewhat shoehorned in. My verdict though, at this early point, is that this is a decent show.

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