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.
The Rogues have been chased through Central City, Metropolis, Gotham and they are tired. They have been sundered, their relationships frayed, and now they have their backs to the wall. Everyone is after them, all the supervillains who now obey the Crime Syndicate that is. That’s been the theme of this mini-series from the start. The series has gone from situation to situation in each issue and I’ve wondered if there was any particular plan to all of it, whether it would all come together for something significant.
The latest issue, out this week, continues the story of the Rogues vs the Royal Flush Gang, and a gang they are indeed. The Rogues are now prisoners of the Royal Flush Gang, being taken back to Central City for a date with the Crime Syndicate. And this is when the Rogues really come back together. I loved this issue, quite frankly, because the story moved forward, and it went back to its roots of the Rogues’ rebellion against the Crime Syndicate. And the art was pretty much on point too.
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.
This month, the Forever Evil event moves into its second half. Till now, we have seen a lot of things happen here (yeah, I say that every time) and of all the four distinct books, Rogues Rebellion has been the most entertaining. It has sat on the fence between comedy and serious, with a mostly well-handled execution that makes it one of the best event comics DC has out at the moment. But, till now it has also been little more than a villainogue as I mentioned in my review of the previous issue. In fact, the entire event has been about that and lots of ignored, minor villains and supervillains have stepped up to the plate and it all has been quite interesting.
With the new issue, writer Brian Buccellato introduces a new (to New 52) supervillain group while also introducing one of Gotham’s more notable crime lords and his own gang. With the Rogues currently in full limbo and Captain Cold off on his own with Lex Luthor’s Injustice League, Rogues Rebellion has taken a rather interesting turn and I have to say that despite the fact that the series isn’t really moving forward all that much, I’m having fun. The art remains excellent and the writing is mostly consistent. There is little more that I could ask of this creative team.
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!
Looks like its going to be the month of busy weeks. The last two weeks I’ve read two graphic novels each along with all my regular monthlies and this past week proved to be no different. Both Detective Comics Volume 4 and The Flash Volume 4 proved to be exceedingly good and now I have two more series that I need to catch up on for the New 52. Tall order, but doable. And as regards the usual monthlies, there were comics across the board, in all sorts of ways: genres, publishers, characters, etc, etc. The year has slowly transformed over the months into a really solid year for comics overall.
I still haven’t made any dent in the pile of graphic novels I have to read, but I’m not too worried about any of it, to be honest. Already used to that phenomenon from my novel reading.
We are pretty much halfway through the Forever Evil event in terms of release chronology. There have been some pretty big, pretty major events that have switched around the status quo of the DC universe since the main heroes of three different Justice Leagues are all dead or presumed dead until proven otherwise, as far as the world at large is concerned. Given how big of an event it is, inevitability said that there would be quite a few tie-ins to this main event, and that’s where Rogues Rebellion steps in. It focuses on Flash’s premier New 52 villains, The Rogues, and how they defy the Crime Syndicate, the new “ruling” power.
For its first two issues, Rogues Rebellion has been a fairly good story that ticks all sorts of boxes, but there was still an undercurrent of unease that the six-issue mini-series would not quite live up to the mark. This week saw the release of the third issue, set in Gotham no less, and I was quite excited for it. Some of those expectations didn’t end up getting met since the story wasn’t as gripping this time around, but I have to say that on its own, its pretty good. It also doesn’t hurt that the artwork is so damn good here.
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.
This was a really busy comics reading week, primarily because I read two graphic novels this time around, both of them for Marvel no less. I have finally dipped my toes in full in Dan Slott’s Superior Spider-Man and the first taste has been quite interesting and fun. On the flip side, the somewhat older Immortal Iron Fist proved to be a bit of a mediocre book, but no less intriguing for that fact and I’m quite interested in the character now. Other than, a lot of the DC comics this week were really good and this is quite pleasing in fact. And Zero Year tie-ins are finally over so I look forward to a month of no such tie-ins.
I still have a big backlog of graphic novels to burn through, so I have that to keep me busy further I suppose. More on that as it happens.