On account of traveling to and from India this past week, my comics reading took a back-seat, as did my novel reading incidentally. Very few comics read, but most of them were good at least, a saving grace.
Things are finally beginning to really heat up in Green Arrow by Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino. Their issues over the last six months have been really amazing and the current arc, The Outsiders War, has been highly entertaining as well. In the past two issues, we saw a lot of the setup for this arc as Green Arrow traveled back to the island with Shado, looking for answers to a lot of questions. He found few answers and many more questions. Green Arrow #27 ended on a jaw-dropping cliffhanger, and the new issue carries on straight from there.
As always, I’m not really sure what to say here, except that the star of this issue is definitely Andrea Sorrentino with his mind-blowing pencils, and even Marcel Maiolo with his captivating colours. The story here is pretty good of course, as are most of Jeff Lemire’s scripts, but the art is totally something else. The time for revelations to be had is over and it is the time now for action, whether we talk about the heroes or the villains. And John Diggle finally makes his return here after the teaser we got in one of the previous issues. So this book is definitely firing on all cylinders.
So welcome to the first Comics Picks of The Week for 2014 where I list the comics that were actually to be the first ones released in the new year. Everything that has been revealed so far about 2014 promises an amazing year, I have to say. Well, for the most part at least. There are some things that I don’t quite understand, or like, but eh, it is still going to be a great year I feel.
This past week, Marvel finally launched its All-New Marvel NOW! line with Black Widow, All-New X-Factor and Revolutionary War: Alpha and they aren’t going to stop. New releases will continue throughout March at the least and we will even be getting some of these new titles double-shipped, such as Black Widow #2 which comes out next week. In other news, I had some fun reading DC titles this week, although Detective Comics #27 proved to be quite disappointing for most of the first half. And my disappointment is on several levels, not just with one particular aspect of it. But, more on that in the reviews.
My first graphic novel of the year happened to be the (unfinished) mini-series that Steve Gerber and Matthew Sturges wrote a few years ago, with the former writing the tale of a new Doctor Fate while the latter wrote about the supervillain Eclipse. Only eight issues of this double-sized series were released, but I have to say that I definitely enjoyed it and based on that, my graphic novel reading is off to a good start.
With last month’s Green Arrow #26, the current creative team of Jeff Lemire, Andrea Sorrentino and Marcelo Maiolo began their next arc for the series, carrying on what’s come before and taking the series into new territory while also showing that there’s a big direction for everything that’s happened so far. I jumped on the series with Green Arrow #23 and its been quite a fun ride so far. The creators have done some incredible work and they keep improving, with each issue truly better than the last and the consistency is just mind-boggling.
And now, with Green Arrow #27, it looks like a higher bar has been set, overall. I’m no stranger to mind-bogglingly great cliffhanger endings in comics, or in related media. CW’s Arrow, based on Green Arrow and his lore over the decades, has done some similar things and done them well. Everything I love about that show is reflected here, almost everything since the comic is doing some different things, but overall, there is a great synergy between the two in terms of exploring Ollie’s history and his role as a hero, which is damn fantastic.
The eleventh pick for the “12 Days of Best Covers of 2013″ list is the cover for author Rachel Aaron’s latest release, Fortune’s Pawn, the first in her new Paradox space opera series, written under the pseudonym Rachel Bach to help differentiate from her epic fantasy series Eli Monpress, all of them published by Orbit Books. Sure, I’m a huge fan of Rachel’s books, and the covers for her novels have been quite good, whether the old covers or the new ones. Having read Fortune’s Pawn a few weeks ago, I can say with confidence that it is most definitely one of the best SF novels I’ve read in the last three years, right up there with the best of the best.
The eleventh comic cover that I pick is Andrea Sorrentino and Marcelo Maiolo’s cover for Green Arrow #25, written by Jeff Lemire and drawn by Andrea Sorrentino. I credit CW’s Arrow and fellow TFF reviewer Bane of Kings for getting me interested enough in this title to read it. Thanks to Jeff Lemire’s excellent storylines and Andrea Sorrentino’s amazing artwork, Green Arrow has become one of my favourite DC monthly comics and in the weeks that new issues of the series come out, Green Arrow is definitely among my first reads.
Without further ado, hit the break to see both the covers in all their glory! The full list of all these covers is available here.
Despite the fact that I liked Green Arrow in Justice League Unlimited and the portrayal of Oliver Queen in CW’s Arrow last year, I never really got on the character bandwagon to start reading the comics. Part of that was how he was handled in his guest appearances in Geoff Johns’ Justice League last year, and part general disinterest. But after fellow TFF reviewer Bane of Kings started talking very highly of the series from when Jeff Lemire took over, that interest started to grow and now Green Arrow is one of my favourite books in the New 52.
With this week’s issue, Jeff Lemire and artist Andrea Sorrentino begin a new arc, The Outsiders War, and are set to explore much more of the character’s mythology than we’ve seen before. I still haven’t caught up to Lemire’s issues (its in the cards!!) but I have to say that across the last four issues, he has done some impressive work, and the artwork by Sorrentino and colourist Maiolo has been quite amazing. The new arc gets off to a really strong start and I am quite liking where things are going with respect to the various characters involved. If the future issues are anything like the previous issues, then this is definitely going to be a great arc.
This is the month that marks a slew of DC releases which tie into Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s ongoing Zero Year event for the Batman title. Whether a Bat-family title or otherwise, there are a lot of these comics, and the first among these is Jeff Lemire and Andrea Sorrentino’s Green Arrow #25, which takes a break from the ongoing events in that series to give us a flashback to the origins of the relationship between Oliver Queen and John Diggle.
Of course, if you recognize that name, then you are in the know as to some of what’s going to happen in the issue. Created for the CW Arrow, John Diggle has carved out a niche as a fan-favourite character and its great to see that he is transitioning to the comics. Reminds me of how Harley Quinn was introduced in Batman: The Animated Series and then transitioned to the comics, such that she is finally getting herself an ongoing series this month. As a flashback, this was a really good issue, despite a few flaws, but the overall effect is superb nonetheless.