Monthly Archives: January 2014

Harley Quinn #2 (Comics Review)

Harley Quinn #0 was very much one of the best comics of last year. The humour was great, the rotating artist gallery was a fun thing, and the writing just generally was good. Harley Quinn #1 had a lot to live up to and it met some expectations, but failed others. But it is undeniable that Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti wrote a really fun comic with Harley at the center of the proceedings and the series could very well be the bright spot in the grim and grittiness of the New 52 if it could keep going in the same vein all the way. But that’s not what happened with the latest issue.

Harley Quinn #2 is a bit of an odd-beast for sure. It has some really great moments, but then there all the other things that bring it down. The jokes fall a little flat, the writing is not as good, we are already into guest stars and we already have an assistant artist to help out Chad Hardin with the pencils. It is a really weird thing. I liked the story here, but I felt that a lot of the potential was just squandered. I expected more out of it.

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The Blacklist Season 1 Eps 1-3 (TV Show Review)

Recently, and starting with Homeland, I’ve come to take an interest in contemporary espionage shows. There’s something quite fascinating about FBI, CIA agents and others of their kind taking down the bad guys, mass murderers and terrorists and more. After having seen the first three episodes of Homeland a while back however, I’ve kind of fallen off due to other shows (not that Homeland is boring or bad or anything, quite the contrary), but watching The Blacklist recently has gotten me really interested in the whole genre once again.

The reason that I started watching The Blacklist in the first place is because of the lead actor James Spader. I’ve seen a lot of his films, especially the sci-fi flick Stargate that spawned no less than three spin-off shows, and have seen him in Boston Legal as well where he was just amazing alongside William Shatner. Spader is a great actor and I dived into The Blacklist last week nothing about the show. It so happened that I loved it, and now, having seen the first three episodes, I can say that the show is really good. Almost all the actors are top-notch and the plots are quite interesting as well, which always helps.

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Arrow Season 2 Episode 11 (TV Show Review)

With the show back on air for season 2 following the recent big break and the awesomeness of seeing Barry Allen on the show in the moments before he becomes The Flash, its time to get the momentum going once more for Arrow. The mid-season finale was a hell of a place to stop before the long break, and while the mid-season premiere wasn’t quite what I was looking for despite being a good episode, my enthusiasm in the show is undimmed. In fact, each and every week I am more and more excited because the show has surpassed pretty much all my expectations of it in this season.

Episode 11 is, first and foremost, aptly named: “Blind Spot“. It is all about the blind spots that the various leading characters have with regards to each other. This episode does a great job of thematically exploring that concept even though that’s pretty much what a lot of it has been about from the get go. But I dare say that nothing we’ve seen so far has been quite on point as in this episode. And additionally, the biggest thing of all, I finally got to saw one particular character kick ass just the way that I wanted the character to ever since the character’s first moment on the show. So indeed, this was a pretty good show.

Note: The review contains a spoiler to a really awesome and cool moment from the mid-season finale, episode nine.

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Hacktivist #1 (Comics Review)

Last year Archaia announced that it would be putting out a new series in 2014, with the creative vision behind it provided by none other than Alyssa Milano, who happens to be one of my favourite actresses ever. Actor, producer, philanthropist and more, she’s been involved in a number of big projects over the years although she has often flown under the radar as well. For my money’s worth, I’ve always enjoyed any movie or show that she’s been, and I’m particularly a fan of Charmed, which was a great show back in the day, and still is, I think.

Hacktivist is her latest project and as the name implies, it focuses on hackers who also dabble in global activism. Early buzz indicated that the mini-series would focus on a young woman, but as I saw reading through the first issue, that’s not the case exactly. At the same time though, I was really taken in by the vision behind the idea and the entire concept of it. I can definitely see the series having a lot of potential. It was kind of a surprise to see that Alyssa isn’t the writer here, that job’s done by Jackson Lanzing and Collin Kelly, but I’m not complaining much since I enjoyed the issue.

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Justice League #27 (Comics Review)

The last two “big” installments of the Forever Evil event, Forever Evil #4 and Justice League #26, were pretty major letdowns. And with DC having messed up the schedules for Justice League in November and December, we haven’t had this month’s installment of Forever Evil #5 either. So things are a bit out of whack on that front. But one thing I can say is that Justice League #27 is a pretty big improvement over its predecessor.

The previous issues of the series were all origin issues about the Crime Syndicate and how they came to be who they are. This time however, we switch tracks to see a bit of the Doom Patrol and see the physical rebirth of Cyborg, who was nearly destroyed by the sentient computer virus Grid and was barely kept alive by Batman until he was able to get him to his father eventually. The first few pages of the issue were clunky and disappointing, but thankfully the rest made up for it, in quite a good way I might add.

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Sleepy Hollow Season 1 Eps 10-12 (TV Show Review)

And so we finally come to it. This week, Fox’s Sleepy Hollow ended its first season with a special two-hour episode. As I’ve said in my previous reviews, this is a show that I’ve really come to enjoy and the previous two episodes have been some of the best work on the show yet. Sure, some subplots have been sort of ignored and so have certain characters, but overall, I can definitely say that each and every episode has been a joy to watch. It avoided many of the pitfalls of a team-up show in its first season, or just first season blues in general, and that’s been the best thing about it, among others.

There have been a damn load of revelations in all the previous episodes. In episodes 10-12, all the revelations finally begin to make sense and they come together to deliver more revelations on top of all that. Another thing is that these three episodes allowed the full cast to get their day in the sun. The writers touched on pretty much every subplot here, although I think that the finale could have done with a lot more, but still, the finale mostly left me with my jaw hanging open all the time. It also helps that the acting has been great, with Tom Mison and Nicole Beharie being the breakout actors of television in 2013 for me.

Note: This review contains spoilers about these three episodes.

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Black Widow #2 (Comics Review)

It seems that Marvel is taking a pretty big chance with its All-New Marvel NOW! launch of new titles (and a sprinkling of some relaunches as well) in that the new titles all appear to be double-shipping in their first months. That’s pretty significant I believe and hints also that they trust these books to that degree. Since Black Widow is the only title I’ve read so far (two issues that is), I won’t comment on whether it is a strategy that is working for me since the bigger picture needs to be looked at, but damn, Black Widow #2 was an awesome issue on all fronts.

Black Widow #1 was a damn good issue. The writing was perfect, and the art almost perfect. It was a perfect blending of talent for a character that I’ve really come to love thanks to the recent run of Marvel movies. With Black Widow #2, Nathan Edmondson continues to build on her world, perfectly contextualising her within the movies continuity while perfectly doing his own thing as well.  I love what he is doing. And having now gotten a good taste of Phil Noto’s style, the art here was damn gorgeous.

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NANP: Naming The Knights

Today’s guest on the blog for Names: A New Perspective is Freya Robertson, another new author with Angry Robot. She has published several romance novels previously and her Elemental Wars series marks her big fantasy debut. The first novel in the series, Heartwood, came out last year in November and the sequel Sunstone is due soon as well. I’m really excited for this series since it plays up some tropes of the genre that I like, such as the mystical order of knights and the quest feel of the narrative. I’ll hopefully be checking it out quite soon and the sequel as well. In the meantime, here’s what Freya has to say on the topic of names.

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Batman #27 (Comics Review)

The end of Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s Zero Year arc on Batman is just around the corner now. From the very first issue of this arc, they’ve both delivered a fantastic reading experience (minus #25 which was a bit of a downer), and the extended art team has also been on top form. Retelling the origins of as iconic a character as Batman is no easy feat, but I feel that the team has performed admirably thus far. With Batman #27, out yesterday, we are in the final arc of this chapter, and the dominoes are all beginning to fall together finally.

In the last couple issues, we’ve seen a ton of character exploration while the plot continues to progress forwards. The overall arc took a bit of a detour with introducing a new villain in Batman #25 and while we have yet to see much of him, or the Riddler for that matter, the story has been good. Seeing a young Batman’s violent interactions with the Gotham City Police Department, and Gordon in particular, has definitely been a big highlight, and this issue is all about that.

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Samurai Jack #4 (Comics Review)

As part of my “end of year” lists for 2013, I did a post recently for The Founding Fields where I mentioned the 5 best new comics of the year. Jim Zub and Andy Suriano’s Samurai Jack from IDW made it pretty high on that list and for good reason. It is a damn amazing series that I’ve enjoyed from day one and the creators have really taken me on a bittersweet nostalgia trip with it. Seeing Jack back again like this was a highlight of the previous year and with Samurai Jack #4 it looks like the creators are starting the year off with a bang.

The previous issues have had a big mix of situations for Jack to tackle. Outright villains, outright villainy, subtle emotional subtext and more has all been seen so far. Samurai Jack #4 goes back to basics somewhat, presenting a clear target for the hero to take down and prove his worth once more in his quest to rewound the Rope of Eons so that he can return to his own time. And of course, the art is amazing as always, most of all the colours, which were just brilliant altogether.

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Comics Picks of The Week 15.01.2014

Once again, a very light reading week, with no graphic novel reading at all. I took a trip to India and back over the weekend, mostly because preparations for a cousin’s upcoming marriage and mom’s treatment, so reading time was extremely limited. I’m even behind on my novel reading at the moment, so I’m generally not doing well on that front at all.

Some really fun titles launched this past week, such as Night of the Living Deadpool, so it was an entertaining week at least, for the most part.

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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Curse #1 (Comics Review)

Its been a good long while since I’ve read a BOOM! Studios title. I started sometime in 2012 with Hypernaturals, penned by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning, and drawn by Brad Walker and Tom Derenick. It was a fairly good series, but I dropped off somewhere in the middle and haven’t gone back. There was Polarity last year by Max Bemis and Paulo Coelho but that’s really it. With all the stuff that comes out from the Big 2, its tough to keep up with titles from other publishers, unless they are really good. With the publisher’s new mini-series Curse however, I think I have a series that I can stick with it.

Its only recently that I’ve really started reading (or getting back to) some horror/supernatural comics, and its mostly been a really fun experience. Coffin Hill, The Darkness, Witchblade etc have really rekindled my interest in the genre. And Curse slots in really nicely with that reading. Its got some really good writing and some good art. And it has supernatural monsters. What could be more fun than that?

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