DC’s Grayson has been very impressive since its debut, with only an odd issue along the way that didn’t exactly capture my attention, and that’s saying something since each issue has pushed boundaries. And last month Grayson #6 pushed even more boundaries by finally setting up a defining conflict between Agent 37 and Midnighter, one that proved to be really informative on how Dick sees himself, and how people constantly underestimate him, whether his allies or enemies. And you underestimate Dick Grayson aka Agent 37 only at cost to your own self.
Following the events of the previous issue where Dick came to blows for a third time against the Midnighter and finally met the Gardener finally Helena Bertinelli aka Matron figured out what the Fist of Cain was planning, this past week’s issue sees the hero try to set off a psychological bomb going off in Tel Aviv during a concert. There’s some really intricate stuff happening, and each is quite merited after all the cloak-and-dagger stuff of late, despite the occasional high-intensity action. But the ending, well that is indeed something different.
On a list of 25 of the best new comics series to come out last year, Grayson by the creative team of Tim Seeley, Tom King and Mikel Janin scored 19. Now, that might seem like a low number, but the fact is that Grayson came out in a year filled to the brim with absolutely great stuff and competition sure was fierce. Only seven issues in, but this has become one of my most-anticipated titles each month and I’m loving what the team is doing, pushing the boundary with respect to where they can develop the character and his supporting cast, and just taking things from there.
Last month we got to see a great desert adventure in the ongoing while also getting to see Helena’s origins exposed in the Annual issue in the final week. Now, we are back to the main story as Dick and Helena’s search for superorgans continues and they finally come into conflict with none other than the Midnighter, the series antagonist introduced back in the debut issue last year and also a big threat to the two of them. The story has some great fun moments, packs a lot of great action, and also has a couple of neat twists to it that I really liked seeing. Plus the oh-so-gorgeous art.
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!
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!
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.
I can say without any reservations that Grayson has been one of the best books that have come out this year. It might not be the most consistent of the bunch , but that hardly matters when you have characters as great Dick Grayson and Helena Bertinelli involved here. And by throwing them together in a spy meta-story where they both work for SPYRAL and are kind of anti-heroes in a way, things get even better, no matter which angle you look at it from, because Tim Seeley, Tom King and Mikel Janin have done absolute wonders so far on the title.
This week’s Grayson Annual #1 sees the origins of New 52 Helena Bertinelli exposed, and the story definitely has to be one of my favourite all-year. Tom and Tim pull a fast one on the reader with this issue, but it is clear that the setup for all of it is there right from the get go, for those who can pick out the little details and what not. Grayson Annual #1 is a story within a story within a story. Kind of like Christopher Nolan’s Inception in some ways, but thankfully not as complicated (and to be honest, I didn’t find Inception to be as complex as most people have called it out to have been).
A third straight week this time without me hitting my magic 40 number, which I really regret since a ton of comics have been coming out these last two weeks, but no matter.
Anyway, My top picks for the surprise hits of the week would be Battlestar Galactica: The Death of Apollo #1 from Dynamite Entertainment, Dredd Uprise #1 from 200AD, and Swamp Thing #35-37 from DC Comics. The most disappointing comics of this week were Angela: Asgard’s Assassin #1 and Hulk #9 from Marvel Comics. Comics which continued on with a good run yet again were Alien vs. Predator: Fire and Stone #3 , Aliens: Fire and Stone #3, Grimm Fairy Tales: Realm War #5 , Death of Wolverine: The Weapon X Program #3, Inhuman #9, Gotham Academy #3 and Vampirella v2 #7 among others.
No graphic novels this past week unfortunately.
I can say without any reservations that Tom King and tim Seeley’s Grayson has been a damn fun ride since it debuted a few months ago. Each issue has introduced new mysteries, done a lot to develop Dick Grayson as a character, and also chart a bold new era for the titular hero with respect to his new mission as an agent of the shady organization SPYRAL. The stories have been great, the art has been great, and that’s pretty much all that I’ve asked of the title, without suffering any disappointments along the way.
The new issue from this week, Grayson #5, has a very cold start. You are thrown straight into the action without any kind of context to the events, but once you move past that, you see that the issue yet focuses on showing how Dick Grayson is this great guy who is a hero in the truest sense of the word and that while he may be dead to the rest of the world, he isn’t dead to himself or to his principles, which have driven him since he used to be Robin. The new issue is yet another feather in the cap of the creative team on this title.
In last month’s Grayson #3 we saw some pretty big things go down for our titular hero, ending in a rather emotional moment that played up the whole aspect of why Batman never carried a gun and why he never trained his sidekicks like Dick Grayson into their use. It was also one of the best issues of this brand-new series from DC, taking place after the events of this year’s Forever Evil event that saw Dick “die” as far as his friends are concerned, all except for Batman. Even as Dick’s own journey continues, we also get to see more of what the shadowy and secretive SPYRAL is up to, and it is not good, not at all.
Since the start, this new series has dabbled in the occasional humour and light-hearted moment while staying primarily serious and intense and focused on whatever the end goal is, which I’d surmise is the taking down of SPYRAL since Dick is working for the organization on behalf of Batman. But in this week’s issue, we see things head in a different direction as Tom King and Tim Seeley tackle something at the heart of who Dick used to be, a poster-boy for fangirls everywhere. It is a great change in pace in the first arc of the series, and Mikel’s art excels as always, to especially great effect.
Last month we got a dose of what the future holds for Dick Grayson aka Nightwing aka Agent 37 and his friend and colleague Helena Bertinelli aka Matron. Working for SPYRAL is a pretty dangerous job, and in the first three issues of the new series, we’ve seen that again and again as Dick is continually challenged by his circumstances while also maintaining his cover as a dedicated agent for SPYRAL. Tom King and Tim Seeley are keeping the series chugging along really nice while Mikel Janin keeps up his awesomeness month after month and this week’s issue is no exception..
This week’s Grayson #3 sees Dick, Helena and two other SPYRAL agents go after a villain who is quite unique in most aspects. Having lost the use of his eyes, he’s had some advanced surgery done to link his ocular nerves to two over-sized guns and now works as an assassin. Going after a villain like this means using guns, and that’s the big challenge for Dick in this issue: using guns. I have to say that Tom and Tim have done something spectacular once again. They really seem to have a good handle on this new Dick Grayson and Mikel’s artwork is as great as ever.