Last Fast-Shot Comics Review for comics released in January 2015!
The picks for this week are: Bitch Planet #2, Jungle Book: Fall of The Wild #2, Robyn Hood #6, Wolverines #1-4, Gotham By Midnight #1-3 and Unity #13-14.
A few days ago I did my best of 2014 list for the comics I read in the second half of 2014. And back in July of 2014, I did the first “best comics of 2014” post. The reason I mention that is because of the changes I’ve made for this list. While previously I used to do it so that I put up my top 6 comics, in July’14 I did a top 12 on account of the increased number of comics I was reading at the time. And that same holds true for this list as well since I’ve gone up on the number yet again, and this list has the top 20 and then 20 honourable mentions.
More comics, yay!
So, with the books of the second half of 2014 already having been covered, I now delve into my favourite monthly comics of the same period. The next post will be a list of the top graphic novels I read in all of 2014.
Let’s see what makes the cut and which comes close then!
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.
Given how many comics I usually get to in any given week, anywhere from about 25 or so and all the way up to 40 even, it is not possible for me to review everything. Especially when I watch a lot of television in the week as well, and review as much of that as I can, or anime or even book reviews. Hence this new effort, Fast-Shot Comics Reviews, which I’m hoping to make a regular weekly thing on the blog. But no pressure! Every week on Wednesday, I’m going to try and review about 6 comics from the week prior that I didn’t get to in that week, and see where things go from here!
The picks for this week are: Archer & Armstrong: One Percent #1, Deep State #1, Django/Zorro #1, Hexed #4, The Kitchen #1 and Unity #12. As you can see, four of this comics are brand-new series, with the very first one being a spin-off of Valiant Comics’ hit title Archer & Armstrong. I picked these six comics because they are undoubtedly among the best comics I read this week, but also because they are all incredibly diverse, very different to each other and to other comics on the shelves this past week, especially Unity #12 which is a superhero comic, but deals with something rather different than the norm.
Valiant Comics’ Armor Hunters crossover event is coming to a close very soon. In fact, I think the fourth (and final?) issue comes out this coming “New Comic Book Day”, three days from now. It has been quite a refreshing event for someone who is used to big, sweeping epic events from the Big 2, DC and Marvel. It has been small-scale in terms of how many titles it has affected, but it has been sweeping and epic in its own way. One of the titles caught up in its wake is Valiant’s superteam book Unity which launched last year and has proven to be among the top tier comics currently on shelves quite consistently..
Armor Hunters continues in the events of Unity #10 and #11 where the superteam Unity has gone up against the sentient robotic starship GIN-GR, and has had to face up to some really weird consequences of that. Not all the members of the team are involved of course since Ninjak and Gilad are, at first, up against the Armor Hunters’ ravenous hounds elsewhere before they get to Los Angeles for a showdown with GIN-GR, but there is some really great emotional story here, showing that Matt Kindt is just superb in both his plotting and his dialogue and everything. And I loved the art in both issues too, so that says something as well.
In an effort to catch up, this is my second “Comics Picks For…” post today, and largely because I just want to keep track of my reading really. It is a real effort otherwise as my reading list is seriously outdated. Plus, I like to promote good properly and this is a great vehicle for that other than reviews. In this week, I didn’t really download any new comics so the list of comics read and the top picks are just what I read in that week, instead of including the new week’s releases as well.
The surprise hits of this week were Armor Hunters: Bloodshot #1 from Valiant Comics, The Wicked + The Divine #2 from Image COmics and Cartoon Network: Super Secret Crisis War: Johnny Bravo #1 from IDW Publishing. No surprise flops this week, just comics that didn’t work for me, like Star Wars: Darth Maul: Son of Dathomir #3. The other comics were all decent at the least and I even managed to read a trade collection this week, beginning the start of my big “Witchblade read” from Ron Marz’s epic run on the title.
This week I was a man on a mission. I’d resolved to make a big dent in my weekly reading pile, given all the great comics that were coming out, and I did just that. Not counting my graphic novel binges, since those count as a single item only, this has been my biggest week so far to date. 23 single issues in a week, with 15 reviews of these titles. Pretty damn good odds I say. I’m definitely hitting my stride here.
The best part of the week, other than all the fantastic new comics, was catching up with comics that I’d left off with or had put aside for other comics, such as American Vampire: Second Cyle and Pandora. The former proved to be really good while the latter not so much. But such is the way of things. I may be behind on novel reading, but I don’t care so much about that. Comics are where the excitement is going down!
Greg Rucka and Michael Lark’s first arc on Lazarus proved to be quite a short one at just four issues. Their second arc in comparison appears to be a bit longer, and that’s perfectly fine with me since the first arc was only intended to introduce the characters and the setting, to hook readers in and keep them coming back for more. Which is what happened with me. Now, with the second arc, the creators have improved immeasurably by giving us a much wider view of this post-apocalyptic world as the creators deal with a terrorist plot and also explore the protagonist, Forever Carlyle, and the world around her.
In the previous issues we saw the lead-up to the terrorist plot that is going to be executed very soon. And we also saw what is going on with the Garrett’s and the loss they suffered while making the trek to Denver to take part in the Lift and find a better future for themselves. In the new issue we see how all the storylines are beginning to converge finally and how everything is going to go down in the Lift. Forever, the terrorists, the Garretts, they are all going to be having a word or two in the next issue and hopefully sharing the space. While the writing is better from last time however, the art doesn’t seem quite so good, perhaps because of an overuse of inks this time. Read the rest of this entry
This was a pretty incredible week, I must say. In addition to all the usual new releases I ended up reading, I also began my re-read/catch-up of DC’s Forever Evil: Blight event. Since I wasn’t reading the Constantine and Pandora titles for this event, I ended up missing out on a fair bit of story, and this catch-up is intended to fix that. Consequently, I read more than I usually do, except when I manage to read trades, if you count it like that. Still, the overall experience was pretty incredible, so there is that.
Thankfully, most of the comics I read this week were excellent, as evidenced by the fact that I picked a top 7 instead of a top 6 this time, on account of all that I read. If you read any of these, let me know!
Up until now, Lazarus has been one of the most interesting series to come out from Image Comics. The first arc was pretty intense and it not only told a great personal story as far as the protagonist Forever Carlyle was concerned, but it also told a wider story about the world that Greg Rucka and Michael Lark have created. Suffice to say, I enjoyed the first arc. But, the second arc has been giving me doubts. The action has slowed down considerably, as the last two issues depicted, and the story has been split as well, between the events revolving around the Carlyle family and between those involving the Barrets and their friends.
The new issue, it suffers from low-key action, and heavy story-ing. We get a little bit of characterisation here and there, but it doesn’t quite work so well because the narrative is just so weighty with all of what needs to be covered to the move the story further. I enjoyed it to a degree, but I still can’t quite like it fully because its as if Rucka is doubling down away from the action. Lark’s art too wasn’t quite so good either, though that just might be the narrative-art associative thinking.
After yet another break, one of Image’s newest titles returned to shelves this past week with its sixth issue. Across the five issues we’ve had previously, writer Greg Rucka and artists Michael Lark and Santi Arcas built up a well-defined post-apocalyptic (of sorts) world around the protagonist Forever Carlyle, a genetically engineered and conditioned woman who acts as her family’s ambassador and head of security. Its been a fairly good series thus far, and I’ve enjoyed what the creators have done. This isn’t the type of story that would ever be told at the Big 2 and Image is a perfect fit for this title.
In the new issue, we continue to get a wider perspective of the world and the setting itself. We are able to see just how the world works and how the Serfs and Wastes are treated by the Families. This is by no means a happy setting, bleak in the extreme actually, and this issue shows that off nicely. In fact, it highlights how ruthless this world is. And the art is quite decent. No big scenes here this time, and everything is more or less a subtle play on the larger themes.