Category Archives: General

Samurai Jack #1 by Jim Zub (Comics Review)

If, like me, you grew up in the heyday of Cartoon Network programming of the late 90s and early 2000s, then you are well familiar with the Samurai Jack animated series, created by Genndy Tartakovsky. The series ran from 2001-2004 to great acclaim and it is one of the very few CN series that I remember very fondly. It was, perhaps, one of the darkest cartoons I’d ever watched, but it was told in a way that the grim and gritty really balanced out with all the excellent humour.

Recently, IDW announced an ongoing comic series for Samurai Jack, bringing the character back after nearly a decade since the original days. I could not have been more excited. The first issue launches tomorrow, and to celebrate, IDW has commissioned no less than 10 covers for it! Its amazing to see the kind of passion that the publisher is putting into this project, and having just read the first issue, I will say that they are off to a fantastic start.

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Magic: The Gathering – Theros #1 by Jason Ciaramella (Comics Review)

When I got back into comics last year, Matt Forbeck’s Magic the Gathering #1 was among the very first I read, thanks to a review copy I got from IDW Publishing through NetGalley. I really liked it, and then went on to read many more IDW comics. I’ve read pretty much all of Matt Forbeck’s work on this series, except for the last two issues of the third arc. Put out as three four-issue mini-series, these comics have been among the best I’ve read to date, thanks to the excellent writing, and the excellent artwork by Martin Coccolo.

Recently IDW announced a new ongoing series for planeswalker Dack Fayden, the star of Matt’s Magic comics, and it got me really excited. I was slightly bummed that Matt wasn’t going to be working on the series, but I was excited all the same. I enjoyed reading Dack’s previous adventures and I hoped for the same from new writer Jason Ciaramella as well. And he does deliver.

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Hinterkind #1 by Ian Edginton (Comics Review)

As I’ve said before elsewhere, Vertigo Comics puts out some of the best stuff in the industry and their biggest selling point is how diverse each title, how different it is to the next. Vertigo’s various settings all have a different vibe, different feel to them, as you can see from Jeff Lemire’s Trillium or Scott Snyder and Sean Murphy’s The Wake or Bill WIllingham’s Fables. These are very much non-traditional comics and they are executed brilliantly.

Joining this stellar line-up is the latest by Ian Edginton, Hinterkind, a post-apocalyptic story in which humanity is now the endangered species and nature has run wild all over the world. Just the description of the setting itself intrigued me and made me want to read the comic ASAP. And I would have, as soon as New Comic Book Day came, if it wasn’t or some other reading commitments and plans that intervened. Might be reading this “late” but its sure been one hell of an experience.

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Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 1 by Brian Michael Bendis (Graphic Novel Review)

Much as with DC’s New 52, Marvel’s reboot of its entire line-up (mostly) means that its a great place to get started with their comics. New books. New creative teams. The whole deal. I’ve tried to get a start on some of the titles, primarily X-Men but I’ve only stuck with a very small handful. With news of the Guardians of the Galaxy movie being a part of Marvel’s phase 2 for its cinematic universe, I decided to go ahead and read the current ongoing, written by a long-time Marvel main-stay, Brian Michael Bendis.

Marvel doesn’t exactly any cosmic books ongoing right now. As far as I can tell, Guardians of the Galaxy and Thor: God of Thunder are the only such, despite the fact that a lot of the Marvel events have an effect on the entire galaxy, especially when they feature villains like Thanos and Ultron and Galactus and who knows who else. My first taste of Guardians of the Galaxy has been excellent, and I look forward to getting down with the second volume.

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Batman/Superman #3.1 by Greg Pak (Comics Review)

I’ve said before that my initial excitement for Greg Pak’s Batman/Superman was greatly tempered by the actual issues themselves. There’ve been three issues in the main series so far, and then there’s this Villain’s Month tie-in issue, which gives us an origin story for one of Superman’s greatest villains. Across all four issues, I’ve faced one disappointment after another. And its been a case of disappointment in all respects.

Greg Pak has written three Villain’s Month issues: Darkseid, Zod and now Doomsday. The first of these was extremely disappointing, largely because of the story execution. The way it set things up, things looked promising but then it all fell flat. And I haven’t yet read the second issue. Probably for the best if I don’t go ahead and read it now, at this point.

Note: Spoilers follow.

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The Kaiju Are Rising Hard And Fast

Almost three weeks ago, three of my friends started a Kickstarter campaign to fund an original fiction anthology featuring the hot monsters of the year: kaiju. Reviewer and blogger Nick Sharps, and authors Tim Marquitz and J. M. Martin put together this project, bringing together a really great group of authors to contribute to this anthology, Kaiju Rising: Age of Monsters. I had a small contribution to the project in its early stages and I’m really great that its come together so, so well. The project got its target funding in short order and it is now at the 130% funding stage and has just achieved its fourth stretch goal at $13,000.

Now, here’s Nick Sharps, the man behind the entire idea, to talk more about the project and what the next stretch goal, at $14,000, holds for backers. I think its a fantastic idea and I already can’t wait to read this anthology when it eventually comes out through Ragnarok Publications. So off we go!

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The A-to-Z Comics Survey

Last week I posted a book survey, in response to a similar post by a blogger friend. I had a lot of fun writing that post and I immediately wanted to do a comics version of the same. In addition, I’ve talked two other friends, fellow The Founding Fields reviewer Bane of Kings and blogger Stefan at Civilian Reader, into contributing to this survey.

My post goes up today. Bane’s post will go up tomorrow (For those interested, you can check out Bane’s own A-to-Z Book Survey on his blog). And Stefan’s post will follow the day after. Do keep an eye on them!

Hope you enjoy! And even if not, do share your thoughts in the comments! And remember, all my comics reviews can be found here.

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The A-to-Z Book Survey

So a few days ago my reviewing/blogging buddy Ria at Bibliotropic posted a nice survey of sorts on her blog. It was a cool article and with her permission, I’m sneaking off my own spin on it.

Hope you enjoy! And even if not, do share your thoughts in the comments!

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Reviewer Subjectivity

Friend and reviewer Ria, over at her blog Bibliotropic, posted a while back about subjectivity and objectivity in reviews. Her post was borne out of her experience reading a novel that, while in and of itself was a good piece of fiction, did not measure so well when put in context of the genre it was written in. In short, she was writing about subjectivity and objectivity in reviews as an experience, rather than a review style or mindset.

And it got me thinking about my own experiences. I had never really considered this before, you see. I approach each novel, each comic, as an object on its own, without the context of the wider genre or industry first and foremost. That evaluation is something I do subconsciously, without thought, and it is automatic. In my reviews, I rarely if ever mention whether the piece of fiction being reviewed compares to the industry/genre at large. I merely note if it is as good as other books/comics I’ve read, and even then, I use a very sample of such works, only the ones that I consider to be absolute best.

And therein is the contradiction of it.

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The Wolverine vs Wolverine: Different Eras

Last month saw the release of the much-hyped The Wolverine, the latest in 20th Century Fox’s ongoing attempts to create an X-Men movie franchise. There’ve been lots of ups and downs in the last, what, thirteen years (?) as far as that’s concerned. The first X-Men movie was a great movie that did a lot to help establish Marvel characters within Hollywood, but the subsequent productions, despite their varying success levels, haven’t exactly been on par. The X-Men Origins: Wolverine movie was a ridiculous attempt at a prequel to the trilogy and though I kind of do love the film because of all the action-goodness in it, it was low on plot and low on character development. The most recent movie, X-Men: First Class, a reboot of the entire franchise, went back into the Cold War era to kickstart the global mutant-hate and was an attempt to tell a prequel with a much different tone and one that would establish the divisions between Professor X and Magneto. Of course, it doesn’t help that First Class officially retconned the Origins movie and that together, all three movies are a continuity mess, when taken together.

And into this mix is The Wolverine, which is seemingly set after the events of X-Men 3 and will ultimately tie into next year’s X-Men: Days of Future Past, which will continue on with the X-Men team established by Professor X in First Class and is also a sequel to X-Men 3 at the same time. Which just makes things really confusing.

Either way, this review isn’t really a review of the usual type. I’m taking a look at the new movie and comparing it against its direct source material, Wolverine Volume 1 by Chris Claremont, which is where the story for the movie has been adapted from. In a nutshell, I think the movie is a fairly good adaptation and it is not a straight lifting of plot points or character development, but is something different. All things considered, I think this is one of the best such adaptations I’ve seen.

Note: spoilers for the final act of the movie and the comic will be discussed towards the end of the review.

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DC: Fixing The Second Generation Superheroes

A few days ago I was talking with fellow TFF reviewer about how DC could, and should, revamp its “Young Justice” comics. To clarify, I realise that there was an animated show of the same name and that there were accompanying digital comics as well. However, I use that term as a catch-all to describe all the second generation superheroes in the DC universe for the purposes of this discussion. This includes heroes like Superboy, Supergirl, Batgirl, Red Hood, Nightwing, Teen Titans and so on.

We did some preliminary discussions around the idea and it gave me the idea for this post, since our discussion was held on a forum where the comics discussions are extremely limited. And I wanted to explore the idea in greater depth and provide a much more visible platform for it as well.

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Table of Contents – Manifesto: UF

Back in May I announced that my short story Dharmasankat: Crisis of Faith had been accepted for inclusion in Tim Marquitz and Tyson J. Mauermann’s urban fantasy anthology Manifesto: UF. You can read that post here. Since then, I’ve been keenly anticipating the release of the anthology and seeing my name in print for the first time. I won’t lie, I’m superterriblyamazingly excited for this. After several false starts and abandoned projects things are beginning to work out and it looks like I do have the start of something great here.

Just a couple days ago, I looked at the final edited version of the short story. There actually weren’t any serious edits there other the American English-ization of a few terms here and there, and that too because I tend to write in British English, owing to my aspirations to one day write for Black Library’s Warhammer Fantasy and/or Warhammer 40,000 settings.

Having that be the most serious editing required makes me really glad. Glad that I didn’t screw up anything with my debut effort. The anticipation of release is eating at me right now, as is the fact that Dharmayoddha: Warrior of Faith is still on submission and I haven’t heard anything about it yet. Either way, I’m really looking forward to the release of the anthology.

In the meantime, since it was finalised, here’s the Table of Contents for the anthology. As I mentioned in the other post, some of these authors are friends I’ve made in the last few months ever since I started reviewing and to be able to share the same writing space as them is thrilling. Too, fellow reviewer Nickolas Sharps is making his own debut here as well and both of us are right smack in the middle of the TOC.

Exciting times!

RevKirk Dougal

I’m an Animal. You’re an Animal, TooZachary Jernigan

Los Lagos HeatKarina Fabian

Savage RiseAdam Millard

Front Lines, Big CityTimothy Baker

Break FreeRyan Lawler

Naked the Night SingsTeresa Frohock

Double DateAndrew Moczulski

That Old TreeR.L. Treadway

DharmasankatAbhinav Jain

NephilimTSP Sweeney

Toejam & ShrapnelNickolas Sharps

Green Grow the RashesWilliam Meikle

Under the Dragon MoonJonathan Pine

Gold Dust WomanKenny Soward

Wizard’s RunJoshua S. Hill

Chains of GrayBetsy Dornbusch

Bloody Red Sun of Fantastic LAJake Elliot

Queen’s BloodLincoln Crisler

Beneath a Scalding MoonJeff Salyards

Separation Anxiety – J.M. Martin

Blessing and DamnationWilson Geiger

Jesse Shimmer Goes to HellLucy A. Snyder

The anthology will be released in less than a month’s time, on 1st September, through Angelic Knight Press. I don’t have any of the usual bells-and-whistles links for you yet (Amazon, publisher product page, etc), but I do have the Goodreads page. I’ll get the other links as soon as I can. In the meantime, if you could head over to Goodreads and add the book to your reading shelves, that’d be great.

Thanks to everybody who’s helped so far. Much appreciated!