Another week of a “Magic 40”, though no graphic novels.
This week’s surprise hits were Ivar, Timewalker #1 from Valiant, Mortal Kombat X #4 from DC, and Twilight Zone: Shadow And Substance #1 from Dynamite. The disappointments of the week were Spider-Woman #3 from Dynamite and Spider-Verse #2 and The Amazing Spider-Man #13 from Marvel and Vampirella: Feary Tales #4 from Dynamite. Ongoing greats were Wonder Woman ’77 #3 , The Flash: Season Zero #11 and Supergirl #38 from DC, Black Widow #14 and Bucky Barnes: The Winter Soldier #4 from Marvel, and, Grimm Fairy Tales: Realm War #6 from Zenescope among others.
Doing one of these posts often takes a lot out of me because of all the linking and checking and verification and formatting and everything, but lists like this also help me crystalize my year in reading, so I value them quite highly. Thankfully, I’m able to get this list out in time and most of the books on the list have already been reviewed as well, so that’s something too.
With the year 2014 now done and over, it is time to do the first of my “Best of the Year” posts, for the period 1st July to December 31st. I didn’t read as many books this time as I wanted to, primarily because I got married in the first week of July itself, and things have changed a fair bit. But life remains exciting and interesting in equal measure, and my reading also happens to match that rather closely, so I’ll take that in full indeed!
Let’s see what makes the cut and which comes close then!
The last week of 2014 and I hit my Magic 40 number. That pleases me immensely. I was hoping I’d be able to make it to this number, and I did, especially with 2 graphic novels in the mix a well!
For this final week of 2014, the surprise hits were: Jungle Book: Fall Of The Wild #1 from Zenescope and Transformers: Drift: Empire of Stone #2 from IDW Publishing. The disappointing comics of the week were Death of Wolverine: The Logan Legacy #7 from Marvel and Secret Origins #8 from DC. The regular greats like Aquaman, Catwoman, Sensation Comics, Secret Avengers, Godzilla: Cataclysm and others struck once again in the final tally.
The graphic novels for this week were Sunstone by Stjepan Sejic and He-Man and the Masters of the Universe Volume 3 by Dan Abnett, Pop Mhan, Mark Roberts, Deron Bennett and Stjepan Sejic.
I’ve been a fan of Judge Dredd for a good while now, which for me translates into about a three-year period. It all started with the horrible 1980s movie with Sylvester Stallone, but then extended into the audio dramas range from Big Finish Audios, and then into the comics from IDW Publishing, and then the new movie with Karl Urban, and so on. Back in 2012 I also read the Dredd Omnibus from Abaddon Books which contained three stories from the perspective of a veteran Judge Dredd and which proved to be a really fun collection with some really strong stories.
And now we have this year’s Judge Dredd: Year One, which collects three more short novels, but the twist being that they focus on a Judge Dredd who is just a year out from the Academy, and is thus still finding his feet in the mess that is life in Mega-City One. Each novel does something different with the character, with the third one, Wear Iron by Al Ewing, which contains quite a bit of misdirection. But still, each novel here is pretty excellent and the stories told are definitely a lot of fun too, such as the first novel City Fathers which shows the Mega-City 5000 race. Great stuff!
Almost a month after the last time, I finally had a Magic 40 week! And not just any plan Magic 40 week, but one where I managed to read three graphic novels as well!
For this week, the surprise hits were Fables: The Wolf Among Us #1 from Vertigo Comics, Death of Wolverine: Logan Legacy #6 and Spider-Man & The X-Men #1 from Marvel Comics, Justice League #32-36 from DC Comics and The Valiant #1 from Valiant Comics. The comic (yes, the only one!) that proved to be rather disappointing, even unexpectedly so, was New Suicide Squad #5 from DC. Apart from that, a good run continued on several other titles like Hexed, John Carter: Warlord of Mars, Batman: Eternal, Birthright, Prometheus: Fire and Stone and others.
The three graphic novels for this week were: Grimm Fairy Tales: Code Red Volume 1, which is set during the recent Age of Darkness crossover event from Zenescope Entertainment, Mighty Avengers Volume 2 from Marvel, which is an effort by me to catch up on this mostly-good title, and Supergirl Volume 1, which is an older Supergirl title, pre-New 52.
Getting on a roll again, this week I managed to repeat the “Magic 40” with 2 graphic novels and 38 singles, with many of the latter being absolutely new series, so that was a lot of fun for the most part.
My top picks for the surprise hits of the week would be Archer & Armstrong: One Percent #1 from Valiant Comics, Deep State #1 from Boom Studios, Django/Zorro #1 from Dynamite Entertainment and Vertigo Comics, and The Kitchen #1 from Vertigo Comics also. The most disappointing comics of this week were Captain America and the Mighty Avengers #1 and Death of Wolverine: Logan Legacy #4 both from Marvel Comics, New 52 – Batman #36 from DC Comics and Grimm Fairy Tales: Cfinderella #1 from Zenescope Entertainment. Other than that, the regularly great titles like Hexed, Fables, New Suicide Squad, Red Sonja and Unity all proved to be immensely fun.
The graphic novels for this week were King Conan: The Hour of The Dragon by Timothy Truman, Tomás Giorello and Jose Villarrubia, and Fables Volume 5 by Bill Willingham, Tony Akins, Jimmy Palmiotti, Daniel Vozzo, Todd Klein, James Jean, Mark Buckingham, Steve Leialoha.
Marvel’s Original Sin event is now over, and with it are the tie-in mini-series Iron Man vs Hulk and Thor & Loki: The Tenth Realm. Of the two, I enjoyed the latter far more, right out of the gate, and it showed a lot of promise as well. That was compounded when it was revealed that next month the current Thor would no longer be Thor and that there would be a new Thor, a woman this time. So that was something I expected to unfold in this series, and the setup was definitely there. But then, the series started to falter a bit, though it was still a fun read and the finale was something I was looking forward to .
Thor & Loki: The Tenth Realm #5 is quite possible one of the most disappointing comics of this year, almost on par with how Batman: Zero Year ended up after such a great start. With the cliffhanger of the last issue, I expected things to go really big, really epic, but nothing of the sort happened. Odd character moments and a weak script combined with art that failed to live up to the promise, and I was just saddened by the time the issue ended. Nothing exciting happened here and the pacing was all over the place. Sad, sad example of promising mini-series turning to dust.
With everything going on right now, I had doubts whether I’d be able to get through many comics this week but it seems that this was indeed the week where I surprised myself in a big way. Not only did I catch up on quite a few new titles, but I also managed to read two graphic novels this week, one of them at almost 300 pages no less!
The surprise hits of this week were Doctor Who: Eleventh Doctor #2 from Titan Comics, Judge Dredd: Anderson, Psi-Division #2 from IDW Publishing and Inhuman #5 from Marvel Comics. This week’s surprise flops were Caliban #6 from Avatar Press, Grim Tales of Terror #3 from Zenescope, and Superman Unchained #8 from DC Comics. Of the others, they were mostly great, and I loved that both G.I. Joe Volume 1 and Witchblade Volume 3 are among my absolute favourite graphic novel reads of the year!
Getting back into the groove of comics reading I might be, but I’m still struggling with getting around to graphic novels/trade paperback collections, and that’s something I really regret. Every month that pile gets higher and higher with no end in sight and it kind of depresses me. But there’s so much new material to read too!
Anyway, the surprise hits of this week were Cartoon Network: Super Secret Crisis War! #3 from IDW Publishing, Sundowners #1 from Dark Horse Comics, Wayward #1 from Image Comics and Star Spangled War Stories Featuring G.I.Zombie from DC Comics. The surprise flops of the week would be Smallville: Continuity #1 from DC and Star Trek: City On The Edge Of Forever #3 from IDW. After having read some of the previous issues in both, I was really surprised by how boring these were, and of course, Savage Hulk #3 was abysmal, but that was to be expected anyway. The others, well they were all a mix of good and bad, as usual.
Marvel’s Original Sin event is coming to a close imminently, with the final issue of the main event series landing tomorrow I believe. Or next week at the latest. This has been a most fun event, especially once you delve into many of the tie-ins and the crossovers that have resulted, such as the story arcs in Amazing Spider-Man and Daredevil, among others. Part of this event was the launch of the Thor & Loki: The Tenth Realm mini-series which saw Thor learn about his long-lost and believed-dead sister and then set out on a quest to bring her back. The first issue back in early July was a promising read, and I expected that to continue, for the title to get better.
Being on a holiday, I wasn’t able to review the previous two issues of the mini-series, but with the 4th issue landing this past week, I thought it was a good time to get down to it. What Jason Aaron and Al Ewing started in the first issue continued on in the second through fourth issues, with each providing a new and unexpected turn of events the likes of which I just couldn’t imagine. Whether it is Thor and Loki breaking down Odin’s realm-locks to the Tenth Realm, or Loki turning on Thor to side with the Angels of Heven, or Thor’s sister Angela beating him down or even more, this story has been one of the best “short” stories from Marvel I’ve read in a while. The artists also turned in a great effort, though I got confused between all the different pencillers put on the project.