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12 Days of Best SFF Characters of 2013: Day #3

For this new seasonal list of the best SFF characters I’ve read this year, my third pick is one of DC’s mainstay characters, someone who has had more than seventy years of history at the publisher: Prince Diana of Themiscyra aka Wonder Woman. Brian Azzarello’s current take on the character isn’t quite to my taste, but I’ve found lots to like in how she’s been written by writers like J. Michael Straczynski and Allan Heinberg.

Hit the break to see why I picked this character.

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12 Days of Best SFF Characters of 2013: Day #1

For this new seasonal list (another one!!), for the best SFF characters I’ve read this year, my first pick is the duo of Gotrek & Felix from Josh Reynolds’ Road of Skulls, a part of the Gotrek & Felix series, a mainstay for the Warhammer Fantasy setting from Black Library (Games Workshop).

Hit the break to see why I picked these two characters.

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12 Days of Best Covers of 2013: Day #12

The twelfth and final pick for the “12 Days of Best Covers of 2013″ list is the cover for author Erin M. Evans’ latest Forgotten Realms novel from Wizards of the Coast, The Adversary. This novel is the third in her Brimstone Angels series that features a pair of twin Tiefling teenage sisters, one a spellcaster and the other a warrior, and is also the third novel to be set in The Sundering, the current big event of the Forgotten Realms setting. I started reading Brimstone Angels last year and all the three novels in the series have been quite good. They’ve maintained my interest in the Forgotten Realms setting and have provided a great counterpoint to all the other novels I’ve read in the setting.

The twelfth and final comic cover that I pick is Matteo Scalera and Dean White’s brilliant cover for Black Science #2 from Image Comics. Written by Rick Remender and drawn by Scalera, this series debuted last month and has been one of my best monthly reads for both November and now December. A (weird) pulp SF adventure that also involves dimensional travel and alternate history, the series has some great characters and some truly fantastic art. It is, for sure, one of the best new comic series of 2013.

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.

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12 Days of Best Covers of 2013: Day #11

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.

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12 Days of Best Covers of 2013: Day #10

The tenth pick for the “12 Days of Best Covers of 2013″ list is the cover for Wesley Chu’s The Deaths of Tao, the sequel to his 2013 debut from Angry Robot Books, The Lives of Tao by Argh! Oxford. The Lives of Tao is one of the best debut books I’ve read this year, largely because how approachable and… normal its protagonist, Roen Tan, is. The Deaths of Tao lives up to the promise of its predecessor and its a book that’s an adventure from start to finish and I couldn’t get enough of it. The launch of The Lives of Tao was so successful that Angry Robot pushed the release of the sequel up several months and The Deaths of Tao was released quite recently. Which is pretty frikkin’ great actually. I’m hoping that the third novel is release soon as well.

The tenth comic cover that I pick is Marc Silvestri and Sunny Gho’s jaw-dropping cover for Ron Marz and Laura Braga’s Witchblade #170, which sees Ron Marz return to the series after a long hiatus and newcomer Laura Braga join in as the artist. I’ve read a fair few Witchblade comics prior to this and I have to say that Witchblade #170 is definitely among the best by quite a margin. Now that I’m following this series regularly, I’m very excited where things are going, especially given how Witchblade #171 ended. Can’t wait for Witchblade #172, which will be coming in about 4 weeks or so. Long wait.

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.

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12 Days of Best Covers of 2013: Day #9

The ninth pick for the “12 Days of Best Covers of 2013″ list is the cover for Martha Well’s latest novel, a Star Wars tie-in for the new Empire and Rebellion series, The Razor’s Edge. This new series takes place after the original Star Wars movie and continues the adventures of Leia Organa, Han Solo and Luke Skywalker in those early days of the Rebellion. It was a really fun book that did much to add to the mythology of these characters and add to the overall Star Wars lore as well. The most fun part was in seeing how these characters continued to interact after their victory over the First Death Star, and the primary protagonist was Leia herself, one of my favourite female characters in SFF.

The ninth comic cover that I pick is Nick Runge’s excellent cover for the first cover of J. W. Rinzler’s adaptation of George Lucas’ original script for Star Wars, The Star Wars. I’ve read the first three issues of the series and they’ve been quite interesting and fairly good. They betray a much more fantastical tone to the entire setting and its evident that George Lucas’ imagination really did run wild for that initial attempt. I’d definitely recommend the series!

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.

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12 Days of Best Covers of 2013: Day #8

The eighth book cover that I pick for the “12 Days of Best Covers of 2013″ list is Halo lead concept artist Sparth’s gorgeous illustration for Michael Martinez’s debut novel The Daedalus Incident, released this year by the Night Shade imprint of Skyhorse Publishing. The Daedalus Incident is a story that meshes in solar system space opera with alchemical fantasy and creates a really fun and unique setting all of its own. It also so happens that one of the protagonists is an Indian woman by the name of Shaila Jain and that she is a written as a strong character completely independent of any romance subplots. What more can you ask for?

The eighth comic cover that I pick is from Jeff Lemire’s first issue of Trillium, a series that he both draws and writes. I held a rather passing interest in the title until I picked up this issue and after reading it I was a total fan. It is weird SF pulp adventure space opera (basically a really fun mish-mash of SF subgenres) and I love the series. Jeff Lemire has done some really great things in this series and while I haven’t read the latest issue as yet, like many of the series I’ve featured on this list, Trillium is one of my most highly anticipated monthly comics.

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.

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12 Days of Best Covers of 2013: Day #7

The seventh book cover that I pick for the “12 Days of Best Covers of 2013″ list is Gene Mollica’s (again) excellent cover for Jean Johnson’s third Theirs Not To Reason Why novel, Hellfire, published by Ace Books. I discovered Jean earlier this year, that is, I started reading her books earlier this year but actually heard of her work last year through an SF Signal podcast. Jean made a switch from writing romance fantasy novels to writing military space opera with this series and all the three books in this series have been quite excellent. I’m definitely a fan of her work now, and I may even give one of her (many) romance fantasy series a chance, just to see how those books hold up.

The seventh comic cover that I pick is actually a splash art for DC’s (at the time) three Justice League titles. With Justice League #22 (Geoff Johns, Ivan Reis), Justice League of America #6 (Geoff Johns, Doug Mahnke), and Justice League Dark #22 (Jeff Lemire, Mikel Janin), DC kicked off its Trinity War crossover that saw all the three different Leagues go up against each other, manipulated by a villain none of them could have been foreseen. The event got me to start reading Justice League Dark and right now under writer J. M. DeMatteis it is currently one of my favourite DC monthlies. All three issues were quite fantastic, and they set a great tone for the crossover as well.

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.

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12 Days of Best Covers of 2013: Day #6

The sixth book cover that I pick for the “12 Days of Best Covers of 2013” list is Jon Sullivan’s superb illustration for Ari Marmell’s In Thunder Forged, the first Fall of Llael novel from Pyr Books, set in the Iron Kingdoms setting. I read the novel a few weeks ago and while its not among the best novels I’ve read this year, its certainly been one of the better ones and I definitely loved the setting and the characters book. It makes me wish that I knew more about Iron Kingdoms and that the next book in the series was already out. Now that would truly be amazing, especially if Jon draws the cover once again.

The sixth comic cover that I pick is the cover for writer Gail Simone and artist Walter Geovani’s first issue of the rebooted Red Sonja series from Dynamite Entertainment. The cover itself is courtesy of Nicola Scott, who is one of my absolute favourite comics artists. The first issue was rather remarkable in that Gail put together a team of seriously awesomely talented female artists and got them to do the cover and several variants, one each. The result was pretty fantastic, as was the rest of the issue itself. Gail and Walter have definitely put Red Sonja on the map for me, a dilettante with the character’s comics, and now I’m a full fan.

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.

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12 Days of Best Covers of 2013: Day #5

For this new seasonal end of year list, the fifth book cover that I pick is Christian Schoon’s debut novel from Angry Robot’s YA imprint Strange Chemistry, Zenn Scarlett. Launched last year, Strange Chemistry has put out some great novels and Zenn Scarlett is certainly one of the best that I’ve read. Despite being a near-future science fiction story set in the near-future on Mars, it is also quite a magical fairy tale as well. I love that dual aspect of the novel and I’d certainly recommend it.

And the fifth comics cover that I pick is the first issue of writer Brian Wood and artist Olivier Coipel’s X-Men. This series made some waves before its release because it is a book absent of any male characters in its core team of X-Men. A more appropriate title for this book would have been X-Women. As it is, many people refer to it is as such any way, typically X-(Wo)Men. This is the book that got me really started with reading the X-books, and its been a fun ride for the most part. Another recommended series to read!

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.

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12 Days of Best Covers of 2013: Day #4

For this new seasonal end of year list, the fourth book cover that I pick is Brian McClellan’s debut novel for Orbit Books, Promise of Blood, the first novel in the Powder Mage gunpowder fantasy series that, for me, does some really new things with magic systems. Additionally, it describes a very rich and layered world that is driven by politics on all levels of culture and society. And finally, Brian writes some great action scenes that definitely make it easy to visualise in the mind what’s happening on the pages. That in itself is quite fantastic.

And the fourth comics cover that I pick is the seventh issue of writer Jason Aaron and artist Esad Ribic’s Thor: God of Thunder. This is the series that really got me to read Marvel comics since it was the only comic from the publisher for months that I was following regularly. The two creators together wove a wonderful space operatic tale with fantasy elements and the comic featured regularly on my end of month lists, which can be found here.

So 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.

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12 Days of Best Covers of 2013: Day #3

For this new seasonal end of year list, the third book cover that I pick is Stephanie Saulter’s debut novel for Jo Fletcher Books, Gemsigns, the first novel in the ®Evolution near-future series which deals with the ethics of genetic engineering and whether or not those genetically engineered can be considered human or not. It is the most thought-provoking novel that I’ve read this year and also one of the best. Where most SFF novels content themselves with telling a story with good/great characters, this novel went the extra mile and actually made me think about the events therein.

And the third comics cover that I pick is the fourth and final issue of Mateus Santolouco and Erik Burnham’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Secret History of The Foot Clan, which Mateus drew as well. A short mini-series that delved into the origins of Shredder, the Foot Clan and Master Splinter himself, it stands as one of the best TMNT stories that I’ve experienced to date. Possibly the best. Which is a pretty damn big deal, all things considered. It reignited my love of the characters and the setting, something that I won’t be forgetting any time soon.

So 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.

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