Last week DC released Detective Comics #27 an anniversary issue of the series which commemorated the original Detective Comics #27 in which Bat-Man made his first-ever appearance. In this anthology issue was a piece by writer John Layman and artists Jason Fabok and Tomeu Morey in which we saw a very different version of Gotham in which the city is a utopia, with the lowest crime-rate in the entire United States. At the end of the issue there was a substantial reveal that hinted at a much larger story, and this week’s Batgirl #27 is the first issue to follow on from there and build on the concepts introduced.
In the vein of that story, we see an alternative take on Barbara Gordon and the city of Gotham, where things are actually cheerful. Gone are the dark Gothic trappings of the city, replaced by sunshine and positivity that gives you a pause. Of course, this is only a thin veneer that hides a dark truth and the issue is spent dealing with that, in a somewhat oblique way. Fresh from wrapping her Wanted arc, Gail dives head-first into the Gothtopia crossover and she delivers another great issue with new artist Robert Gill.
Less than a year since Detective Comics celebrated its 900th issue with New 52: Detective Comics #19, an anthology issue which brought together several different creators, we have New 52: Detective Comics #27, which celebrates the landmark issue of the original series that first introduced Batman to the world as Bat-Man, the caped crusader and dark knight of Gotham who solved the city’s crime with acts of vigilantism. And again, we have an anthology issue bringing together different creators, and telling some really different stories while also giving some bonus art to fans.
I was really excited for this issue. I kind of missed the whole lead-up to Detective Comics #19 since I wasn’t reading the series at the time, but I am now. And one thing that happened this afternoon was that I was massively disappointed. This issue, in its first half, basically retells classic tales and does a hack-job. The second half, with original stories that will be carried over in future issues, is actually good. But the first half definitely bothered me, and it was the writing far more than the art that bothered me.
Welcome to the first CPoTW post of the year. Technically this should be the last of the previous year, but publishers did this funny thing where the new comics came out on 31st December, so, you get the picture.
This was an extremely thin week of comics reading for me, and I’m not quite sure what more to say more than that. I read just six comics in total and as it turns out, they all happened to be good. I suppose that even a reading machine like me needs a break now and then. And I could probably have used it, in hindsight, since I moved through through three graphic novels in the previous week. And that’s a lot. At least, all six of these new comics were good!
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 books already having been covered, I now delve into my favourite graphic novels of the year. A post with the best single issues will follow on later.
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!
Well, here we are. This will be the final CPoTW post of the year, even though today is the last new comic book day of 2013. Just the way these schedules all work out and all.
Moving on, this was a somewhat light week in some respects since I didn’t get around to as many comics as I wanted to. Quite a few titles slipped through the cracks, which is happening more and more given the sheer volume of how many comics are (generally) released each and every week. Still, one bright ray of sunshine in all of this was that I managed to read three entire graphic novels this week, all of them for Batgirl, with one featuring Cassandra Cain and the other two featuring Stephanie Brown, both characters who are much in demand among several outspoken communities of fans to be revived in the New 52. Having read these graphic novels, I certainly agree with that!
I’m a huge fan of Barbara Gordon aka Batgirl (and for a long time, the Oracle). She’s been a favourite for a good long while and when I started reading the comics written by Gail Simone last year, I found myself a new outlet to appreciate the character even more. Far more. Those comics are a mainstay of my DC reading right now, and the series is one of my top titles each month (at least, whenever Gail Simone is the writer). A few days ago I decided to read some different Batgirl comics, since during Barbara’s tenure as the Oracle, other characters have taken on that mantle, most notably Cassandra Cain and Stephanie Brown, both of whom are absent in the New 52.
The first of the comics featuring these characters I read was Batgirl: Redemption, which marked the second run of the title and was only for three issues, tangentially leading into the entire Death of Batman arc. Featuring Cassandra Cain, written by Andrew Beechen and drawn by excellent artists like Jim Calafiore and Jonathan Glapion, this wasn’t the best introductory comics to read, but I liked it well enough. There are lots of things going on in here and I was lost a few times, but I still enjoyed the characters thoroughly.
Another Justice League release in December? Heavens, yes! With the delayed release of #25, #26 was definitely affected and it came out this week along with Forever Evil #4, which too had been delayed. Lots of delays on this event, and I’m starting to think that somewhere along the way DC has dropped the ball, in more ways than one. As my Forever Evil #4 review states, I found it to be a dull and disappointing issue at best. Sadly, that seems to be the case for this issue as well, making it two Geoff Johns issues in a row that I’ve found to be subpar. The one saving grace is that this issue is nowhere near as bad as Forever Evil #4 was.
Issue #25 was a character study on Owlman and it gave a lot of backstory on the character. This is in keeping with the other issues of this event across both Forever Evil and Justice League where we’ve seen the origins of the other characters. Ultraman was the first, then Owlman, and now we have Power Ring, Grid, Deathstorm, and the duo of Johnny Quick and Atomica in this issue. In and of itself, this is a decent enough issue but as part of the Forever Evil event, this is subpar because there is almost no plot progression. We don’t really learn what’s happening right now in the DC universe.
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.
The eleventh pick for the “12 Days of Best Covers of 2013″ list is the cover for author Rachel Aaron’s latest release, Fortune’s Pawn, the first in her new Paradox space opera series, written under the pseudonym Rachel Bach to help differentiate from her epic fantasy series Eli Monpress, all of them published by Orbit Books. Sure, I’m a huge fan of Rachel’s books, and the covers for her novels have been quite good, whether the old covers or the new ones. Having read Fortune’s Pawn a few weeks ago, I can say with confidence that it is most definitely one of the best SF novels I’ve read in the last three years, right up there with the best of the best.
The eleventh comic cover that I pick is Andrea Sorrentino and Marcelo Maiolo’s cover for Green Arrow #25, written by Jeff Lemire and drawn by Andrea Sorrentino. I credit CW’s Arrow and fellow TFF reviewer Bane of Kings for getting me interested enough in this title to read it. Thanks to Jeff Lemire’s excellent storylines and Andrea Sorrentino’s amazing artwork, Green Arrow has become one of my favourite DC monthly comics and in the weeks that new issues of the series come out, Green Arrow is definitely among my first reads.
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.
We are pretty much halfway through the Forever Evil event in terms of release chronology. There have been some pretty big, pretty major events that have switched around the status quo of the DC universe since the main heroes of three different Justice Leagues are all dead or presumed dead until proven otherwise, as far as the world at large is concerned. Given how big of an event it is, inevitability said that there would be quite a few tie-ins to this main event, and that’s where Rogues Rebellion steps in. It focuses on Flash’s premier New 52 villains, The Rogues, and how they defy the Crime Syndicate, the new “ruling” power.
For its first two issues, Rogues Rebellion has been a fairly good story that ticks all sorts of boxes, but there was still an undercurrent of unease that the six-issue mini-series would not quite live up to the mark. This week saw the release of the third issue, set in Gotham no less, and I was quite excited for it. Some of those expectations didn’t end up getting met since the story wasn’t as gripping this time around, but I have to say that on its own, its pretty good. It also doesn’t hurt that the artwork is so damn good here.