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Comics Picks For 25.02.2015

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 .

Anyway, here’s another edition of “Comics Picks For…”. Full reading list, as always, is available here and all my comics reviews are available here.

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Catwoman #39 (Comics Review)

Not much of a secret of late that ever since Selina took over as the Head of the Calabrese-Kyle family that things have been heating up between the various crimelords of Gotham. She is a completely new element thrown into the picture, someone who never worked well with any of the others, being a lone wolf of sorts, but now she is suddenly at the head of the entire pack. Since taking over from the previous writer, Genevieve Valentine has been crafting a pretty incredible tale with the “former” Catwoman, and artists Garry Brown and Lee Loughridge have clearly enjoyed going to town with the new status quo of the titular character.

With all that Selina has been through of late, there are still plenty of challenges ahead of her and this past week’s Catwoman #39 presents one of the many ways in which she has started to bounce back after all the setup of the previous issue. This time, she takes Roman Sionis head on and even attempts to influence the Hasigawa family. Her enemies are all converging on her, and Genevieve shows that Selina is at her best with her back to the wall. This issue also presents some new opportunities to the artists, and they deliver quite well on the expectations.

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Ivar, Timewalker #2 (Comics Review)

Last month Valiant launched Ivar, Timewalker, bringing the third and final Anni-Padda brother into the spotlight with his own book, with Gilad and Armstrong already having their own solo titles in Eternal Warrior and Archer & Armstrong and the two have also shown up in the recent The Valiant mini-series. This new book by Fred Van Lente, Clayton Henry and Brian Reber explores the time-traveler’s self-appointed mission to keep the timelines safe and also feature a great supporting actor in CERN scientist Neela Sethi, caught up in Ivar’s time-hopping madness.

The second issue, out this past Wednesday, picks up from where the first issue left off last month and we have Ivar and Neela in a prehistoric time several millions of years in Earth’s past trying to figure out what to do next. Having just “discovered” time travel, Neela is attempting to sort everything out while Ivar fills her in, and the neat thing here is how he teaches her about the immutable nature of changing the past or the future, with the most classic of tropes of time travel: killing Hitler.

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Tomb Raider #12 (Comics Review)

Last month saw the start of a new arc on Dark Horse’s Tomb Raider. Lara is currently starring in a small stage production of Pride & Prejudice by her friend Jonah, a character carried over from the Tomb Raider game. In the midst of it all we also got to see some more fallout from the previous arc, something that earned her a major nemesis, a man with a real drive to find her and destroy her, someone who is as afraid of her as he wants to kill her. It was a fairly good issue in most respects, and I definitely liked the overall change in pace as well.

Tomb Raider #11 picks up a bit after the previous issue left off, and we see that Lara is back in London and working with her friend Jonah in a theatre production, Pride and Prejudice no less unless I’m mistaken, and things are not working so well for her since she’s a terrible actor. All of this sets in motion some new stuff for the character, which brings in another villain in her orbit, and it remains to be seen whether this new villain is going to be the all-out crazy variety or something else.

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Catwoman #38 (Comics Review)

Its really not a good time for Selina Kyle, or should I say, Selina Kyle-Calabrese. The head of the Calabrese crime family that rules a good portion of Gotham. She also happens to be in direct opposition to Roman Sionis aka the Black Mask and the Hasigawa family, though she is courting them for now and has a temporary alliance in place. With the advent of the new creative team, the title has undergone a serious makeover and has come off the better for it thankfully, with a superb crime story that also has some really great thriller moments to it.

When last we were with Selina, she had just ordered the death of her cousin, at the hands of his sister no less, and was also taken down a few pegs in the eternal battle for control of all criminal activities in Gotham. That definitely hurt her reputation and now in Catwoman #38 we see how she plans to bounce back from all of that, to regain the lost prestige of her family, and to come out of the experience with a solid and even unenviable position amongst all the other families. The story is great, the art is great, what more can you want really?

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Best of 2014 Part 2b: Monthly Comics

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!

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Comics Picks For 24.12.2014

The last week of 2014 and I hit my Magic 40 number. That pleases me immensely. I was hoping I’d be able to make it to this number, and I did, especially with 2 graphic novels in the mix a well!

For this final week of 2014, the surprise hits were: Jungle Book: Fall Of The Wild #1 from Zenescope and Transformers: Drift: Empire of Stone #2 from IDW Publishing. The disappointing comics of the week were Death of Wolverine: The Logan Legacy #7 from Marvel and Secret Origins #8 from DC. The regular greats like Aquaman, Catwoman, Sensation Comics, Secret Avengers, Godzilla: Cataclysm and others struck once again in the final tally.

The graphic novels for this week were Sunstone by Stjepan Sejic and He-Man and the Masters of the Universe Volume 3 by Dan Abnett, Pop Mhan, Mark Roberts, Deron Bennett and Stjepan Sejic.

Anyway, here’s another edition of “Comics Picks For…”. Full reading list, as always, is available here and all my comics reviews are available here.

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Catwoman Annual #2 (Comics Review)

Selina Kyle’s world has changed greatly of late. She has given up her identity as Catwoman and embraced that of Selina Kyle-Calabrese, the daughter of one of the most feared and respected of Gotham’s old mob bosses, Rex Calabrese, who now languishes in Blackgate Prison. And along the way, with a new creative team behind her, Selina has picked up a whole new supporting cast to help her (and fight her) transition into the world of mob politics that run rampant through Gotham, and this supporting cast will either make or break her.

Hot on the heels of a recent issue where she had to… deal with a cousin who secretly a snitch for the Gotham PD, we get Catwoman Annual #2 where we get to see the details of one of the more prominent members of Selina’s new supporting cast, Eiko Hasigawa, the daughter and potential heir of the Hasigawa family which is currently being courted by Selina as allies in her bid to secure power in Gotham for the Calabrese family. Genevieve Valentine writes a pretty thrilling issue with a woman who wants to break out of the bounds of her family and make her own life on her own terms, and the art is pretty damn spectacular all the way too.

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Tomb Raider #11 (Comics Review)

Dark Horse’s Tomb Raider has undoubtedly been a great series since its debut earlier this year. Under the pen of Gail Simone and the pencils of Nicolás Daniel Selma, the series has thrived as it went on, and recently, with Rhianna Pratchett joining Gail, we’ve seen some more fun stories come to the fore, though Lara has remained as she has always been, even as the world around her has gotten larger and larger. The recent arc, while a fairly good one, wasn’t without its drawbacks and as the series moves into a new arc, time to see whether the kinks are going to get worked out.

Tomb Raider #11 picks up a bit after the previous issue left off, and we see that Lara is back in London and working with her friend Jonah in a theatre production, Pride and Prejudice no less unless I’m mistaken, and things are not working so well for her since she’s a terrible actor. All of this sets in motion some new stuff for the character, which brings in another villain in her orbit, and it remains to be seen whether this new villain is going to be the all-out crazy variety or something else.

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Secret Origins #5 (Comics Review)

A couple weeks back I read my first issue of Secret Origins, an anthology series where each issue is full of the 3 origin tales of various DC superheroes and supervillains. Focusing on Wonder Woman, Deadman and Sinestro, Secret Origins #6 was a really good issue and it made me want to read more of the series. Since there’s no continuity between these various issues, I can pretty much cherry-pick which one I want to read and when, which really helps in that I don’t have to catch up to the backlog of five issues already out in order of chronology or publication.

For this week I went back to August’s issue, Secret Origins #5, which tells the origins of Victor Stone aka Cyborg, Jason Todd aka Red Hood and Mera, the Queen of Atlantis and Aquaman’s wife. While the first story is pretty much a rehash of what happened in Geoff Johns’ first arc of Justice League, it tells of some new details and is decent enough. The second story is rather bland and boring, being little more than a long recap of Jason Todd’s time as Robin and now Red Hood. The third story however, with Mera in her time as the Princess of Xebel, is pretty solid, in both art and writing, and I really enjoyed that one.

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Comics Picks For 24.09.2014

Lightning strikes in the same place for a third time. I mentioned last week that I read 38 singles and 2 graphic novels for that release week, and that holds true for this week as well. I had a chance to read a bit more, but I chose to use that time to get done with some of my novel reading and also catch up with some of my reviews. 15 titles out of 40 read were reviewed by me this week. I feel good!

The surprise hits of this week were Aliens: Fire and Stone #1 and Prometheus: Fire and Stone #1, both from Dark Horse Comics, Pathfinder: City of Secrets #5 from Dynamite Entertainment, Catwoman: Future’s End #1 from DC Comics, Hack-Slash: Son of Samhain #2 and Chew Volume 1  both from Image Comics. Comics which disappointed me this week were Edge of Spider-Verse #3 from Marvel Comics, Sensation Comics #7 from DC Comics, and… that’s it thankfully! The graphic novels of this week were Chew Volume 1 and Thor: God of Thunder Volume 3.

Anyway, here’s another edition of “Comics Picks For…”. Full reading list, as always, is available here and all my comics reviews are available here.

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Tomb Raider #8 (Comics Review)

After handily wrapping up the first arc on Tomb Raider, Gail Simone teamed up with Rhianna Pratchett for the second arc that, last issue, took her to Chernobyl to help Alex’s sister Kaz with whatever trouble she is having. It was a slightly confusing issue to be true, but it was also quite fun since the creative team was intent on keeping things fresh and presenting Lara with new challenges and new direction. The art also seemed to improve, so that isn’t something that I’m going to complain about. Yeah, I liked the previous art as well, but the new style is definitely cooler.

In Tomb Raider #8, we see more of Kaz’s backstory and learn a lot of things about her that we didn’t know before. In the previous issue, it was all about getting Lara to witness Alex’s ghost rise up and warn her about Kaz and then Lara getting all the way up to Chernobyl before things really went south for her. Now, we see the beginnings of some real meat of the story, and that was most welcome. The action overall is rather static, in that everything takes place in a very narrow location and that was a slight shock but still, I liked the story here well enough and the art was great as before.

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