It is not long before we finally get to see the new incoming creative team for The Flash, after Brian Buccellato and Francis Manapul’s excellent run on the title, the recent one-shot by Christos Gage and Neil Googe, and now the second of the three-parter arc that Brian is doing with Patrick Zircher. In the last issue we got to see a more supernatural side of the Gem Cities as a ghostly killer from the past returns to haunt the two cities and we begin to get some insight into the very history of the twin cities. Now, in The Flash #28, we go much more further on every single level.
Unexpectedly, there is a guest star on this issue and it set up some really interesting narrative opportunities. It didn’t quite go as far as I wanted to, but I enjoyed seeing this particular team-up. And still, I loved the entire mystery that Brian has setup, including the mystery of Nora Allen’s death. And over on the art side, Patrick Zircher did a great job once again, putting his own spin on the Scarlet Speedster’s adventures as he deals with a supernatural caper that has deep ties to the Gem Cities.
A stable week for a change and this meant that I was able to read some more comics this time. Didn’t get through quite as many as I wanted to, and I certainly didn’t get around to reviewing as many as I wanted to, but that’s fine really. Gotta take a bit of an occasional lighter load I think. Most of the Marvel books I read this week weren’t all that impressive (as the top picks at the end will show), but DC was better. And Vertigo’s newest series looks to be damn good too, can’t wait to check out the second issue of that next month.
And I did manage to begin my Flash New 52 read-through finally with volume 1 last night, so that’s something there. Planning to read a lot of graphic novels this year, mostly in terms of catching up with series I’ve missed out on, so we shall see how it all pans out.
Not as busy a week as the last but fairly busy nonetheless. The new creative teams on various ongoing titles continue to go strong, particularly Justice League Dark and Witchblade while some of the newer titles like Black Science continue to be exception, so that’s one thing that I really liked about this past week. January in particular has been a really excellent month of comics what with Marvel’s full-on All-New Marvel NOW! launch and some really good issues for DC’s Forever Evil event.
Just one graphic novel again this week, the Lee/Buscema magnificence that is Silver Surfer: Judgement. I was meaning to read at least one more, but time wasn’t on my side and I missed out. Hopefully the new month gets off to a good start.
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.
Its been a long, long wait, but after almost a month, Arrow returned this week to CW and all was right with the world. In episode 9, the mid-season finale before the Christmas/New Year break, we got a really good half-resolution to the second season and saw a lot of new beginnings for various characters. Mirakuru, Sebastian Blood, Slade Wilson, Barry Allen, Roy, and a lot of other things got addressed, and it was a really fun time. There was also a character death involved, which was really heartbreaking, but something like that was coming, so I wasn’t too shocked by it. Saddened yes. Still, all in all, CW ended things on a good note.
And now we are here with episode 10 as things get back underway once more and we see some bigger changes on the horizon than we have seen before. Overall, while I liked the new episode, I have to say that at times it felt as if the writers were channeling the season 1 mentality rather than the season 2 mentality. The show wasn’t quite as intense as previous episodes have been this season and if I had to sum it up, I’d say that they played off things safe rather than take some left-field chances. But that’s fine with me. There’s been a long break in between the mid-season finale and this episode, so they need to rebuild their momentum so to speak.
DC launched its latest Justice League to some fanfare last month, debuting a look at the future a thousand years from now, when Mankind has stepped out into space, made contact with innumerable alien races, and formed a giant galaxy-spanning Commonwealth government. But, there are always dangers, and hence the organisation known as Cadmus has brought back the original Justice League (sans Cyborg) via cloning to deal with the threat of the Five. The first issue was was a bit poor in some respects, notably the art, but was decent overall, so I was quite cautious about picking up the second issue.
You know what though, I think this is a series that I can stick with, despite the flaws. Its really interesting to read about a Justice League team that is out of whack in a lot of different ways and is different while still being somewhat same. In the second issue, the writers pit the League of the future against their first actual threat and show how things don’t go exactly to plan. And the characters’ interactions with each other remain at the heart of the story. The art is a little better than the last time, but not by much however.
Welcome to the first CPoTW post of the year. Technically this should be the last of the previous year, but publishers did this funny thing where the new comics came out on 31st December, so, you get the picture.
This was an extremely thin week of comics reading for me, and I’m not quite sure what more to say more than that. I read just six comics in total and as it turns out, they all happened to be good. I suppose that even a reading machine like me needs a break now and then. And I could probably have used it, in hindsight, since I moved through through three graphic novels in the previous week. And that’s a lot. At least, all six of these new comics were good!
As with December’s Aquaman #26, The Flash also sees a switch-up in its creative team. The team of Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato had an incredible run, especially this year with their recent arc involving the Reverse-Flash, one of the classic Flash villains in the character’s lore. The recent issues really got me reading the series and I’m going to be going through all the back issues very soon to catch up with everything that Francis and Brian have done with Barry Allen.
With the latest issue, writer Christos Gage and artist Neil Googe step up to the plate to guide this particular adventure of the scarlet speedster. It is a fully stand-alone issue that does not require any knowledge of what’s gone on in the series prior to this, and its a great approach to bring in new readers and to offer the older readers something new to break up the run of long arcs that the title has seen. Neil Googe’s artwork isn’t as impressive or crisp as that from Manapul-Buccellato duo, but it gets the job done quite well.
A few days ago I did my best of 2013 list for the books I had read in the second half of the year. In a departure from previous such lists I divided the books and the comics into separate posts so that I didn’t have one massive post up. Massive posts are a bit tough to handle, especially when you are promoting them on social media. And with the split posts, the directions are different and there’s no unnecessary crossover.
So, with the books already having been covered, I now delve into my favourite graphic novels of the year. A post with the best single issues will follow on later.
You can check out my top-of-the-month lists on my Reading Awards page and this list is both an extension, and a continuation of what goes on there.
Let’s see what makes the cut and which comes close then!
Much as with John Layman and Jason Fabok’s run on Detective Comics, I started reading Brian Buccellato and Francis Manapul’s run on The Flash due to fellow TFF reviewer Bane of Kings’ recommendation. This is something that I’ve mentioned before, and the reason I repeat is because I consider The Flash to be one of DC’s best titles right now. Again, this is also something that I’ve mentioned before, and the reason I repeat is because I truly am in love in with this series. Its not as intense a series as some of the other DC titles like Batman, Batgirl or Justice League. Its very down to earth and it always knows how to have fun with itself.
Writers and artists Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato have had an incredible run on the series in recent months and I’m really glad that I gave the series a chance after not liking the first three issues last year. This fourth volume collects together the six issues of the Reverse arc, which features Flash’s antithesis, the Reverse-Flash, and his killing spree which targets Barry’s closest friends. These issues, and the Annual (review) issue this August made me fall in love with both the character and the series, giving me another Flash to care about besides Barry Allen.
Here we are, the mid-season finale of Arrow for its second season. Up until now, in almost each episode, we’ve seen how the writers, the producers, the actors and the directors and everybody else involved have all tried to push the bar and set new levels of achievement with the show. The season started off really well and as expected, the mid-season finale something of a smash-hit as well. The defining thing about this season has been the show’s willingness to take characters and concepts from the comics and reinvent them for a modern television audience who are looking for a balance between the goofy comic concepts and something that they can well relate to.
This week’s episode, the last one we’ll have since the show is now on a one-month break till January 15th, is the second of a 2-part arc which saw the introduction of Barry Allen aka The Flash, one of the core characters of the DC comics universe and a major hitter since he’s been a part of various Justice League teams since his intro. But things didn’t end there of course. Given the long break, the writers tie up a lot of the loose ends and give closure to quite a few subplots that had been running through the season so far. And they do it all in fantastic style. As I mentioned to various friends on Twitter, the last five minutes of the episode left me with my jaw hanging open.
Three Ghosts was a damn awesome episode and I seriously wish that all future episodes are this good.
Note: This review contains some minor spoilers about the episode, although your mileage may vary.
This week, to acknowledge that his Facebook page hit 400,000 likes, Arrow lead actor Stephen Amell posted a 14min Q&A video in which he answered some fan questions that he had taken on his page. In response to one of them, he said that he believes a show should get better, should improve, as it went along in the season. And he firmly believes that every episode this season has been better than the one before. And I agree. It so happened that right after I saw that video, I saw this week’s episode of the show, with a ton of excitement locked in because it was going to debut one of my favourite superheroes, Barry Allen, in a pre-origin role.
And it was good. Good. GOOD more like it. Aside from a few small things that I found problematic, this episode is true to the spirit of the show, particularly this season where Starling City is transformed into the City of Heroes. More great scenes on the Island, more character drama, more top-notch action, a commitment to the idea of superheroes, and supervillains, and more on the epic cliffhanger that we had with the previous episode, something that is going to become a much more intrinsic part of this season.
Note: this review contains some minor spoilers.