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Best of 2014: New Comics Series

Last year I did a small roundup over at The Founding Fields with fellow reviewer Bane of Kings which contained a list of the best new comics to have come out in 2013. It was a rather small list with only 10 entries each from the two of us, reflecting our reading for the year and the consequent small pool to pick from. But in 2014, I greatly expanded my weekly reading, and so for the round-up of the best new comics to have come out in 2014, whether as mini-series or ongoings, I have decided to go much bigger.

There were a ton of new comics to come out last year and many of them started off well enough but unfortunately well by wayside since subsequent issues were nowhere near as good. That however, is a call to make on any new comic and you have to have a wait-and-see attitude for the most part. For this embiggened round-up, I have some mini-series here and some ongoing titles. Some have had multiple issues come out in 2014, while some have had less than three.

Irrespective of that, these are all the most promising new series of 2014, and I think that they are all well worth the read in 2015.

Let’s see what makes the cut and which comes close then!

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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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12 Days of Best Covers of 2014: Day #2

The second book cover I pick for the 2014 edition of “12 Days of Best Covers of…” is for Michael J. Martinez’s The Enceladus Crisis which is the second novel in his Daedalus series. Michael debuted last year on a very strong note with The Daedalus Incident and he carries forward almost all of the same energy and excitement of the debut, telling a new story with characters I’ve come to really care about, in a setting that is wildly creative unlike any space opera I’ve read before.

And the second set of comic covers I pick this year are for Tomb Raider #1 by Gail Simone and Nicolás Daniel Selma, with the cover done by Dan Dos Santos, and the second one is for Harley Quinn #3 by Amanda Conner, Jimmy Palmiotti and Chad Hardin, with the cover done by Amanda Conner and Dave Johnson (corrected!). With Gail on Tomb Raider, it was an instant pick for me as part of my reading for the month and since I loved the direction that Amanda and Jimmy were going with on their brand-new top-selling title, that too was pretty automatic, especially given how they twist the concept of Valentine’s Day for their titular character.

So without further ado, hit the break to see both the covers in all their glory! The full list of all these covers is available here.

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Comics Picks For 08.10.2014

This week turned out to be even less productive on the reading front than the previous one, mostly because we had some guests over this weekend, and I was busy entertaining them for the duration of their stay rather than focusing on my reading as is usual. As such, I only got done through 24 singles and a single graphic novel. But thankfully most of them were good, so there’s that at least, and I’m still reading more now than I was reading last year.

The surprise hits of this week were Birthright #1 from Image Comics, Charmed Season 10 #1 from Zenescope Entertainment and Batman #35  from DC Comics. The comics that disappointed me this week were Avengers & X-Men: Axis #1 from Marvel Comics, Caliban #7 from Avatar Press, and The Death-Defying Doctor Mirage #2 from Valiant Comics. Of the other titles, the ones that I really loved were recent ongoings like New Suicide Squad #3X-O Manowar #0 or even Death Vigil #4.

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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X-O Manowar #0 (Comics Review)

Valiant’s X-O Manowar series wasn’t on my radar until the publisher launched its Unity team-book last year. I’d seen some stuff here and there and heard that it was a great title, but I never really got the chance to pick up an issue and read it, not until recently at any rate, when I read X-O Manowar #23, some months back. It was a fun issue I’d say, and the subsequent couple issues I read were similarly good at the least, though I kind of fell off the whole thing unfortunately. But Aric of Dacia still remains a favourite character to read about, that I can say for sure.

With the end of the Armor Hunters crossover event, the publisher’s line-up is going to go through some changes, and all the existing titles are presumably all going to forge ahead with new arcs. Interestingly enough, writer Robert Venditti is using this… grace period to tell Aric’s origins as a Visigoth warrior in the 4th century AD, and I have to say that he crafts a really intriguing tale of a reluctant and young warrior who wants to be something that his father wants him to and his tribe needs him to. This is one of Robert’s best issues I’ve read to date, and the art by Clay and Seth Mann and Romulo Fajardo is just excellent here.

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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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Future’s End: Catwoman and G.I. Zombie (Comics Review)

This is the last and final week of Future’s End one-shots and it seems that this is kind of like the first week where the one-shots were all generally damn good. Most of the ones I’ve read so far have been excellent, such as Harley Quinn or Justice League Dark, thankfully enough. There’ve been a few titles that haven’t made it to my “good” list, but they are kind of insignificant when compared to the good ones. One thing has been for sure though, that much as with last year’s Villain’s Month, a lot of the stories haven’t been planned out properly so that the overall general effect of this event month is one of cohesiveness.

Catwoman: Future’s End #1 and Star Spangled War Stories: Future’s End #1 (alternative, G.I. Zombie: Future’s End #1) are among two of my favourite reads of the week. The former I was hesitant about picking up since I was dreading Ann Nocenti’s vision of Catwoman’s future, but thankfully it turned out that Sholly Fisch was the writer and she wrote a really cool story here. The latter I expected to be great since Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray have been doing some wonderful stuff on the new series and this one is more of the same. Story-wise, they are both two of the strongest titles this month and even art-wise I’d say, with all the artists being quite spectacular.

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Comics Picks For 06.08.2014

And here it is, I have caught up to my “lists” backlog as far as this particular feature is concerned. Writing three of these back-to-back takes a lot out of you, that is for certain, especially because of all the tags I have to add and what not. Either way, I am now “current”. And just as the previous feature, a lot of the comics here are from previous comics since I’m still attempting to catch up to Mount Backloggia Maximus.

The surprise hits of this week were Cartoon Network: Super Secret Crisis War #2 from IDW Publishing, Chew: Warrior Chicken Poyo #1 from Image Comics, Grimm Fairy Tales #100 and Grimm Fairy Tales Giant-Sized 2014 from Zenescope Entertainment and Batman: Eternal #18 from DC Comics. The surprise flop of the week would be Legendary Star Lord #1, which was pretty much written as Peter Quill being Han Solo. That’s the vibe I got off it at any rate. 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.

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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Comics Picks For 16.07.2014

In what is probably my last “Comics Picks For…” post since I am going on vacation for the next two weeks, what I like is that despite not hitting my usual goal of 26 comics read, I did manage to read the same as last week, 21 in all. All in all it is a good number I think since I got most of my usual titles out of the way and even read a few different things, some of which were really good.

The surprise hits of this week were Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Micro-Seres #5: Splinter from IDW Publishing and Harley Quinn Invades Comic Con #1 from DC Comics. The surprise flop of the week would be Robin Rises: Omega #1 from DC Comics. Expectedly great comics such as Secret Avengers #5 from Marvel Comics and Unity #9 from Valiant Comics were pretty damn good. I’m quite happy with the fact that I’m managing to read as many comics as I have for the past two weeks, given everything else. I expected the number to be much lower after all.

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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Harley Quinn Invades Comic-Con #1 (Comics Review)

Launched last year, Harley Quinn by Jimmy Palmiotti, Amanda Conner and Chad Hardin has pretty much taken the market by storm. The first few issues were all chart-toppers and the series has continued a good sales run without any signs of serious flagging. I’ve loved and disliked the series in equal measure for while the story has mostly been good, the art has been less so, but that kind of fluctuates as well. Still, I won’t deny that Harley Quinn has been a most fun book indeed and that the fact it has managed to steer clear of any other book/event/crossover has been rather impressive.

When DC announced plans for Harley Quinn Invades Comic-Con #1, I got really excited. Can you just imagine the sheer fun of such a title? The promise of lots of crazy antics, lots of surprises, lots of fourth-wall breaking, it is all there in this title. And when I read it last week, this title delivered on every bit of them. From the group of Joker cosplayers to Harley Quinn cosplayers, from Dan Didio and Geoff Johns and Stephen Amell cameos to Harley Quinn going to Jim Lee for an artist portfolio review, this issue was all-out fun. The art was a bit iffy and slightly inconsistent, but I’ll give that a pass.

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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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Painkiller Jane #1 by Jimmy Palmiotti (Comics Review)

I remember watching the Kristanna Loken-starrer Painkiller Jane back in my college days and thinking, this is pretty good. I followed the show almost religiously for all of its first season, the only season it got before it ended. It was a superhero show that wasn’t typically superhero-ish. An everyday character with some not-so-everyday powers just doing what is right and bringing criminals to justice. I loved it back then.

And a few weeks ago, Jimmy Palmiotti announced that he was going to be writing a new mini-series of comics based on the character. That was when I found out that he had created this character in the first place, way back in the 90s with Joe Quesada. And I got all excited for this first issue, which launched this last Wednesday. Its been a long wait for this to hit the stands, but I think its been pretty well worth it because I enjoyed the first issue, and I’m definitely on board for more.

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