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 .
It isn’t without reason that one of DC’s newest books, Gotham Academy, has found such success among the glut of superhero comics everywhere. A story set in Gotham that focuses on kids in a school environment with some inbuilt horror and thrills, Gotham Academy has quickly become one of my favourite comics to read every month. The writing on this is excellent, and so is the art. Plus I just adore the characters, and the whole mystery with what happened to the protagonist over the summer, something related to Batman no less, well, that’s a great hook too, I think.
In Gotham Academy #4 from last week, we see more of what is happening at the boarding school. With all the (light) supernatural things going on, it has been a pretty rough time for Olive and we are finally beginning to get some answers about the whole thing, not to mention that we are slightly closer to understanding what happened to the protagonist over the summer. More mysteries, more thrills, some answers, more questions, there’s a hell of a lot here to unpack and the new issue was just as good as the previous issues, if not better.
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.
A third straight week this time without me hitting my magic 40 number, which I really regret since a ton of comics have been coming out these last two weeks, but no matter.
Anyway, My top picks for the surprise hits of the week would be Battlestar Galactica: The Death of Apollo #1 from Dynamite Entertainment, Dredd Uprise #1 from 200AD, and Swamp Thing #35-37 from DC Comics. The most disappointing comics of this week were Angela: Asgard’s Assassin #1 and Hulk #9 from Marvel Comics. Comics which continued on with a good run yet again were Alien vs. Predator: Fire and Stone #3 , Aliens: Fire and Stone #3, Grimm Fairy Tales: Realm War #5 , Death of Wolverine: The Weapon X Program #3, Inhuman #9, Gotham Academy #3 and Vampirella v2 #7 among others.
No graphic novels this past week unfortunately.
One of DC’s latest series, Gotham Academy has had a pretty good and strong start with its first two issues. The series has introduced us to lots of new readers, almost all of them high-school aged, and the unrepentant fun of the series has definitely pulled me in hook, line and sinker. Olive Silverlock and her friends and frenemies have provided lots of mysteries to sink my teeth into and the whole story developing around these characters is something that I find very compelling, especially since the story itself is of a very personal nature.
In this past week’s Gotham Academy #3, we see a bit more of the larger story as Olive and Pomeline finally hash out their differences and agree to team-up, for now. That creates an interesting mechanic between Olive and the school bully, which I find really compelling and this issue is also largely about Olive basically cutting deals with people she doesn’t really get around with. Which is great. And the art? The art is superb and spectacular as always. I can’t get over the art, ever. There’s so much damn vitality to it!
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.
While the many Bat-books over the last 75 years or so have done much to explore the younger generation of Gotham, we haven’t really seen the more… civilian side of things. The normal kids of Gotham who get caught up in the various mysteries of this city. That’s where last month’s debut Gotham Academy comes in. Written by Brenden Fletcher and Becky Cloonan, this new series looks at a young female lead at a (possibly) haunted boarding school in Gotham, and the slivers of mystery and character offered up in the first issue were good enough for me to come back for more this month.
Gotham Academy #2 continues to explore who Olive Silverlock is and what happened to her in the summer that caused her to forget it all and even led to her having strained relationships with her boyfriend Kyle and his sister Maps. Not to mention the hazing she gets at the school from some of the other characters. This is quite a wonderful teen-oriented book, with actual teen characters no less, and it offers up some interesting stuff about life at the so-called Gotham Academy. The writing is good, if not really excellent, but the art definitely takes the top marks.
Gail Simone ended her incredible run on the New 52 version of Batgirl last month with Batgirl: Future’s End #1. Her run on the title made it one of my favourite titles in DC’s current stable, and right from the start I loved almost everything that she did, paired up with a variety of different artists over the last three years. But then came news a few months back that she was moving off the title, as were the artists currently working with her, and that we were getting a brand-new creative team that would transition Batgirl and Barbara Gordon to a soft reboot of sorts.
Batgirl #35 is the first issue by writers Cameron Stewart and Brenden Fletcher, with art by Babs Tarr. The new issue sees Barbara move to a different locality within Gotham, Burnside, and encountering all the dangers of living near a university campus. The issue also introduces a campy-but-kind-of-modern villain in the form of Riot Black who invades people’s privacy and exposes their secrets to the world for nothing more than a laugh, and it was kind of interesting, but ultimately not to my liking. The story in general didn’t work so well for me and while Babs’ art was pretty decent, it was also very overcrowded and dense and far too cartoony for me.
After two straight weeks of reading 38 singles and 2 graphic novels, this week saw me lagging behind, with only 36 singles read and no graphic novels at all. Makes me kind of sad since there were comics that I was really looking forward to reading in GN format, but I just couldn’t get the time, and I’m seriously behind on my novel reading as well.
The surprise hits of this week were Brides of Helheim #1 from Oni Press, The Damnation of Charlie Wormwood #1 from Dynamite Entertainment and Gotham Academy #1 from DC Comics. The disappointing comics of this week were Fantastic Four Annual #1 from Marvel Comics and Green Arrow #35 and Green Lantern & New Gods: Godhead #1 both from DC Comics. Titles like Death from Wolverine #3 from Marvel, Angel & Faith Season 10 #7 from Dark Horse Comics, and Grayson #3 from DC comics continued to rock it.