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Comics Picks For 19.02.2014

Another very slow week, mostly due to traveling again. And now I’m in India for a cousin’s wedding, so I have big doubts that I will be able to read all that much in the next two weeks at least. Its certainly going to be quite a challenge.

Still, there were some really good entries this week, and I’d recommend almost all of them, barring like two of the issues. Definitely check out Kings Watch #1 if not anything else. More Phantom goodness? Hell yes, please!

Anyway, here’s another edition of this new feature. Full reading list, as always, is available here and all my comics reviews are available here.

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Harley Quinn #3 (Comics Review)

After a bit of a mixed start with its first three issues (the very first issue was a #0 issue), it looks like this series just might be getting back on track. I am a pretty big fan of Harley from the Batman: The Animated Series days and while the Harley that Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner are writing is nowhere near the same Harley, whether in terms of characterisation or visual design, she is distinctly reminiscent of the totally goofball and oddball behaviour of that first appearance that catapulted her into the big leagues of DC’s characters. Its actually been quite fun to see how Jimmy and Amanda have been tackling her and despite a somewhat mediocre issue last month, my enthusiasm for this title is still fairly high.

The new issue is a Valentine’s issue. This is odd considering that we had Valentine’s a week back. I don’t see why this issue wasn’t released last week, two days before Valentine’s, to kind of fit that whole atmosphere and mood better. But still, it is probably for the best. I doubt that anyone celebrates Valentine’s by getting all violent and taking out a bunch of mass murderers and assassins who are coming after her. Yeah, definitely not. But that’s totally Harley! Kind of.

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Comics Picks of The Week 22.01.2014

So this past week proved to be a rather busy week. Lots of comics came out and I think there were something like 30 titles I was interested in, not to mention my huge backlog which stretches quite a bit too. Still, I read quite a few, and I’m mostly happy with them. Interestingly enough I read almost twice as many Marvel titles as I did DC, which was a surprise considering that I enjoy DC far more and find it to be a much easier universe to get into. But, I suppose its the whole All-New Marvel NOW! relaunch at work since three of the titles I read were part of this.

My Superior Spider-Man read-through continued as well with Volume 2, which I really, really enjoyed, and will have a review going up soon for the first two volumes. I couldn’t really be bothered when the title launched last year but now that I’ve gotten a taste of it, I want more. Doc Ock as Spider-Man is really interesting and really good.

Anyway, here’s another edition of this new feature. Full reading list, as always, is available here and all my comics reviews are available here.

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Harley Quinn #2 (Comics Review)

Harley Quinn #0 was very much one of the best comics of last year. The humour was great, the rotating artist gallery was a fun thing, and the writing just generally was good. Harley Quinn #1 had a lot to live up to and it met some expectations, but failed others. But it is undeniable that Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti wrote a really fun comic with Harley at the center of the proceedings and the series could very well be the bright spot in the grim and grittiness of the New 52 if it could keep going in the same vein all the way. But that’s not what happened with the latest issue.

Harley Quinn #2 is a bit of an odd-beast for sure. It has some really great moments, but then there all the other things that bring it down. The jokes fall a little flat, the writing is not as good, we are already into guest stars and we already have an assistant artist to help out Chad Hardin with the pencils. It is a really weird thing. I liked the story here, but I felt that a lot of the potential was just squandered. I expected more out of it.

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Best of 2013 Part 2c: Monthly Comics

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 novels and graphic novels already having been covered, I now delve into my favourite monthlies of the year. This is the final “best of” list I’m doing for 2013 that involves reading.

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!

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Comics Picks of The Week 18.12.2013

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.

Anyway, here’s another edition of this new feature. Full reading list, as always, is available here and all my comics reviews are available here.

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Harley Quinn #1 (Comics Review)

Just a few days ago the sales figures for the month of November were released and it turns out, surprise surprise, that Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner’s Harley Quinn #0 was the 2nd bestselling issue of the month. Comic Book Resources’ sales report post mentions a figure of 114,000+. That’s pretty damn fantastic for an issue that got lambasted to hell and back for its controversial elements back in September. There was, in fact, so much criticism of the issue before it hit stands that I thought it would barely sell. But sell it did, and quite handsomely. It was also a pretty damn fantastic issue for me, one of the best that I read last month.

The first issue (technically the second issue) brings the story forward, and also restores the fourth wall that Harley repeatedly broke in the previous issue and it presents a protagonist who is most definitely crazy, but also possesses a strong violent and rough streak, thanks to her previous association with the Clown Prince of Crime of the DC Universe, the Joker himself. Equal parts serious and hilarious, Harley Quinn #1 is a fun issue overall, but it does have a few missteps that prevent it from being as great as the previous issue.

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Harley Quinn #0 by Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner (Comics Review)

There isn’t any comics issue or character in recent months, or even in the last couple years as far as I know, who has drawn as much attention and controversy as Harley Quinn, who got a new ongoing series today from veteran industry professionals Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner. The controversy had largely to do with an apparently insensitive artist submission that was put together for this title in September, which involved some test art panels that completely lacked the context of the actual issue. Do a search for it and you’ll find all there is to know about it. That’s not what this post is about thought.

I love Harley Quinn as a character. Bruce Timm and Co. introduced her in Batman: The Animated Series nearly two decades ago and since then she’s gained a life of her own, becoming one of the most quirkiest characters in comics, and that’s saying something since she debuted as the sidekick to the Joker, the Clown Prince of Crime and you can’t get any (insanely) quirkier than that guy. And yet, Harley one-upped him. With this new issue, a zero issue no less, Harley Quinn is back in the saddle with lots of great humour and some fantastic artwork.

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Supergirl #21-23 by Michael Alan Nelson (Comics Review)

Supergirl. Maid of Might. Girl of Steel. Superman’s cousin. She has been a mainstay of DC comics for a number of years and has featured in several different mediums over that time, right alongside big blue. Most recently, the character’s biggest break was as a recurring character on CW’s Smallville, a show that lasted ten full seasons and featured Supergirl in several key episodes during the later seasons. Played by Linda Vandervoort, this version of Kara Zor-El was an elder cousin who had managed to escape the destruction of Krypton but had become stuck in her pod’s stasis field during a crash on Earth. Other than the movie Supergirl where the character was played by Helen Slater, this was Supergirl’s biggest outing.

And then came the New 52 in September 2011 and rebooted her comics continuity, and even gave her a much bigger platform than before. Universe reboots tend to do that. I read all the first twelve issues and even the special Zero issue last year, but I struggled to connect with the character. I just couldn’t. Mike Johnson and Michael Green’s scripts had a lot of potential, but the execution often fell short for me. And I stuck with the title for that first year because I love the character.

With the advent of the announced creative change from issue #20, with Michael Alan Nelson being brought in (and new artist being brought in for #21, Diogenes Neves), I decided to get back to the title and suffer through the H’el on Earth issues so I could be caught up with everything that had happened since I had stopped at #0.

Note: Contains spoilers for the previous issues, especially the H’el on Earth event issues.

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