There haven’t been any “Comics Picks of the Week” articles for a while, and the major reason for that is because I’ve just been too caught up with other stuff and I just can’t be… well bothered. It just takes too much out of my time to keep these titles going, especially when Wednesdays also see me trying to get through two TV shows and doing reviews for them. Though, that situation has kind of abated now.
Anyway, this week’s surprise hits were Batman: Arkham Knight #2 and Gotham Central Book 1 from DC. It was a relatively small week for me since I didn’t read all that many new titles and most of those were middling. Ongoing greats were Django/Zorro #4, John Carter: Warlord of Mars #4, Fantastic Four #643 , Inhuman #12, Aquaman #39 , Catwoman #39 , and He-Man: The Eternity War #3 among others .
Hit the almost-magic number of 35 once again and though I have yet to repeat my personal best of 40, I think this was my best week regardless since I managed to read 31 singles and 4 graphic novels. That definitely counts as an achievement, yes?
My surprise hits for this week would be Tales of Honor #1 from Top Cow, Swamp Thing Annual #3 from DC, Inhuman #7, Death of Wolverine: Deadpool & Captain America #1 and Deathlok #1 all from Marvel. Those that count among this week’s top disappointments would be Conan the Avenger #7 from Dark Horse. Justice League United Annual #1 from DC. Others like Grimm Fairy Tales: Realm War #4 and Grimm Fairy Tales: Robyn Hood #3 from Zenescope, Wayward #3 from Image, The Flash Volume 2 from DC, and a bunch of others were as good as I expected them to be, probably better even.
The graphic novels for this week were Supergirl Volume 4 by Michael Alan Nelson and Diogenes Neves, The Flash Volume 2 by Brian Buccellato and Francis Manapul, Krypton Returns by Various and Thanos: The Infinity Revelation by Jim Starlin.
Slight lows on the reading this past week since I didn’t manage to finish either of the graphic novels I started this week, and generally didn’t read as many singles either, but I did manage to get through 35 of them, so that’s something, yeah?
For this week, I’d say that the surprise hits are Dungeons & Dragons: Legends of Baldur’s Gate #1 from IDW Publishing, Catwoman #35 and Secret Origins #6 from DC Comics and Predator: Fire and Stone #1 from Dark Horse Comics. The comics that win the “disappointment of the week award” are Grimm Fairy Tales: Dark Shaman #1 from Zenescope, Arkham Manor #1 and Sensation Comics #11 both from DC Comics. Ongoings like Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 10 #8, Aquaman #35, Tomb Raider #9 and Nancy A. Collins’ prelude Vampirella: Prelude To The Shadows #1 were all first-rate comics this week, and quite satisfactory as well.
The graphic novels I’m in the middle of at the moment are Supergirl Vol.4 by Michael Alan Nelson and Diogenes Neves, and The Flash Vol.2 by Brian Buccellato and Francis Manapul.
Though Future’s End has been one of my favourite series of this year, some of the recent decisions story-wise have made me feel as if the writers are more intent on just prolonging the inevitable and also because the long run is kind of taking its toll on me. Except for an odd title here and there, especially Future’s End #22, the title has been great, but I think some cracks are beginning to show and I would love it if the writers got the series back on track with characters who’ve been missing for a while, and for the “proper” storylines to come back to the fore.
In Future’s End #23 and #24 we see the tale of the survivors of Stormwatch and the reluctant recruits of SHADE as they continue to battle against the power of Brainiac and his legions of robots. We also see, at the same time, the troubles that Tim Draka is having in his love life and how Madison is struggling to get over his past as a Teen Titan, a dead one no less. And in the midst of this we also get to touch base with some characters we haven’t seen in a while, like Fury, Scott Free, Constantine and Superman in some really amazing sequences, both in terms of the story and the art.
DC’s second weekly of New 52, Future’s End has been one of my favourite series all year. Week after week it has thrilled and wowed and amazed and boggled with everything that has been happening on Earth Prime five years from the present main DC timeline. After twenty issues of post-fact storytelling, we finally got the lowdown about the war with Earth 2 in last week’s issue in which Earth Prime’s Green Arrow and Earth 2’s Red Arrow explained it all to Big Barda, or rather, recounted events for the benefit of the reader. And it was glorious.
Coming off of all of that, I was ready for something momentous this issue. But it seems that the writers had something different planned, and I’ll admit that this is the first issue of this series where I feel cheated out and disappointed even. The writers muddle their way through various plotlines here, bringing back several lingering threads, and unfortunately only one of them left an impact on me, when it was fully revealed to Amethyst, Hawkman and Frankenstein who their tormentor was. However, while the writing was less than satisfactory, the art itself was pretty spectacular, as I’ve come to expect from Patrick Zircher and Hi-Fi.
The first four months of Future’s End proved to be one hell of a ride. Though the title occasional faltered here and there, it was still a great, epic story that unfolded in a time five years in the future from the present timeline. Some of the things that I liked about this series was that it gave a lot of underdeveloped and underutilized heroes like Grifter, Deathstroke, Firestorm and many others a chance to shine. With all the different writers working on this, sometimes the stories could be a mess of different plotlines, but they were nevertheless quite entertaining and the artwork was almost always similarly impressive.
The fifth month (going by four issues equaling a month) sees a lot of revelations happening. For one, we finally learn what the deal with Superman in Future’s End is. Second, we revisit the ending of a previous issue in which Bruce Wayne of the future was captured by Brother Eye and Joker was brought in to experiment on him. These four issues contain some of my favourite moments in the series, though some of the things happening on Cadmus Island are beginning to give me a headache, and I’m still waiting for a lot more of the plot threads to be given their time to shine again.
After what proved to be a pretty damn good first week, the second and third weeks of Future’s End have proven to be less than spectacular. A lot of the issues have either been dead-ends or just plain boring. DC’s penchant for making September the big event month shows once again that such things are rarely a good idea, especially since a lot of the stories have zilch to do with the actual Future’s End event, and they are more of just one-shots. A lot of the recent issues have been plagued by this sadly, and few have come out on top despite that kind of handicap.
This week’s Future’s End one-shots for Supergirl and Teen Titans have been a mixed bag for sure. The former has seemingly very little to do with the event, which kind of kills me since I wanted very much to know what Kara has been doing in the years since the war with Earth 2 and the disappearance of Superman from Earth 1. With the latter, we see how a new Teen Titans team has stepped into the shows of the old one, and this one is from Earth 2 no less! Right mix of stories here, and I found that I, surprisingly enough, loved both of them, despite having dropped off both titles sometime last year. Now I’m excited again!
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!
September is the month when all DC ongoing titles take a 5-year leap forward into the time of Future’s End, the currently weekly comic that is being written by Jeff Lemire, Keith Giffen, Brian Azzarello and Dan Jurgens. It is a future in which Terry McGinnis aka Batman Beyond has traveled back in time to stop the rise of a machine intelligence on Earth that will see the planet and humanity reduced to abominable servitors. Each issue is going to be a one-shot I believe, without lasting effects on the various titles. It is definitely something that I’ve been kid of looking forward to for a while, though my excitement is tempered by the gimmick of it all.
Part of the first-wave of titles for the month, Future’s End: Grayson #1 and Future’s End: Green Arrow #1 do two very different things with the ongoing meta-story and both are excellent as far as I can tell. In the former, we see how Dick Grayson ends up making a fatal mistake in the future, tired of everything around him, and in the latter we get a prequel to Future’s End #1, in which Green Arrow aka Oliver Queen. Tom King in the former and Jeff Lemire in the latter, they both do a damn good job of building up the mystery entire, and I loved the way they presented the characters. It also helped that the art teams in both issues were at their best and that they reall got across the emotional resonance of the respective stories.
Thankfully, I’m finally settling back into the groove with comics reading and, most importantly, comics reviewing, as I managed to review a fair bit of titles this week and even caught up with reviewing some previous titles that I’ve unfortunately had to neglect for one reason or another.
The surprise hits of this week were Cartoon Network: Super Secret Crisis War: Billy and Mandy #1 from IDW Publishing, Wolverine Annual #1 from Marvel Comics and Vampirella #3 from Marvel Comics. The surprise flop of the week would be Batman: Eternal #20 from DC where the title seems headed downwards just when it was getting once again, and The Wicked + The Divine #3 from Image where the title took a nosedive this week after a second issue that was really good. No graphic novels again sadly, though I hope to correct that that this week. I hope..