Last Fast-Shot Comics Review for comics released in January 2015!
The picks for this week are: Bitch Planet #2, Jungle Book: Fall of The Wild #2, Robyn Hood #6, Wolverines #1-4, Gotham By Midnight #1-3 and Unity #13-14.
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!
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.
This will be the final edition of this feature for this year, and it involves a fair bit of catching-up across several different titles. Digital comics, print comics, comics with female leads, comics with male leads, team books, solo books, everything is here, so check out the review below!
The picks for this week are: Fables: The Wolf Among Us #1-3, Grimm Fairy Tales: Robyn Hood #4-5, Grimm Fairy Tales: Jungle Book: Fall of The Wild #1, Judge Dredd: Anderson, Psi-Division #3-4 and Aquaman #35-37.
The fifth book cover I pick for the 2014 edition of “12 Days of Best Covers of…” is for Heirs of the Demon King: Uprising by Sarah Cawkwell. Published by Abaddon Books, this was Sarah’s first full-length non-Black Library work, and it proved to be even better than some of her Black Library work, which is saying something since I’ve always held her BL fiction in high regard. She was one of the first authors I started reading back when I was returning to BL fiction some years back, and she has never disappointed. An historical fiction novel about an alternate English history, mixed in with some great fantastical concepts, Uprising was one of my top books for the first half of the year.
The fifth set of comic covers I pick this year are for Batgirl #31 by Gail Simone, Fernando Pasarin, Jonathan Glapion, Blond and Dezi Sienty, with cover by Alex Garner, and Robyn Hood: Legend #1 by Pat Shand, Larry Watts, Slamet Mujiono and Jim Campbell, with the cover by Nei Ruffino. Alex Garner’s work on Batgirl has always been impresive since he stepped on to the title last year, and the one for Batgirl #31 is among my favourites, especially since it has one of my favourite Secret Six characters, Ragdoll. With Robyn Hood: Legend, I have less of a history since I only got into the whole Robyn Hood thing this year, but writer Pat Shand certainly made it a grand experience and Nei Ruffino’s cover, while a variant, is the best of all the covers commissioned for the first issue of the third Robyn Hood mini-series.
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.
When Zenescope decided to move forward the clock on all of its main titles to a year after the events of Grimm Fairy Tales #100, with the intervening time being covered in the Realm War: Age of Darkness mini-series, it was a pretty great decision for the publisher. It allowed for new stories to be told with new characters without the express baggage of an event that had been going on almost a year, and now here we are. I’m not sure what exactly is the continuity of this new Robyn Hood title, but I don’t really care since Pat Shand and Claudia Balboni have been hitting up almost all the right notes with this.
Robyn Hood #3 is the end of the first arc of this new ongoing series, and it brings things to a rather satisfying conclusion as far as I’m concerned. Pat Shand moves things along at a very brisk pace but that also allows him to setup some future arcs, and introduce the big bad villains as well, so that’s not a big point of contention. Marion and Robyn kicked a lot of ass in this issue, and it was really fun to see the two of them bond together in the end. The art is a bit too clean and lacking hard texture, but it was still good, especially the fight scenes in, about, the middle third of the isse.
Thanks to Zenescope’s massive Age of Darkness crossover event that has been running since late last year, I came to know about their Robyn Hood comics, which feature Robyn Locksley as the publisher’s take on the Robin Hood tales. All the Robyn Hood comics I’ve read to date have been quite fun to read and in the Age of Darkness event I think that she has really come into her own, especially in the current Realm War: Age of Darkness series which is positioning her as a major villain. In the wake of the landmark Grimm Fairy Tales #100 issue, one of the new series launched by Zenescope is a Robyn Hood ongoing, something I’ve been wanting to see for a while now.
Before the advent of the new Robyn Hood ongoing, the character featured only in three 5-issue mini-series and a small handful of one-shots or ensemble offerings here and there. But now she has her own title and it really couldn’t be coming at a better time for her. Pat Shand guides the character in a post-Age of Darkness world where Robyn has taken on a vigilante aspect along with her friend Marian, where they’ve started working out as private investigators specializing in the mystical. It is kind of like how Angel did things in Joss Whedon’s Angel. It is fun, it is quirky, and Robyn and Marian are both awesomely kickass.
A few days ago I did my best of 2014 list for the novels I have read in the first half of this year. That list followed the same format that I have been using for 2 years now, but with this new list I decided to make a big departure, owing to how many comics I’ve been reading in recent months, often 80+ comics in a single month! That’s crazy.
So, with the books already having been covered, I now delve into my favourite monthly comics of the year. The next post will be at the end of the year for the second half of the year.
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!
With all the Grimmverse reading I’ve been doing of late, it’d be quite easy to get lost in all of it since I’m not being very systematic with it, just picking what looks good and then going from there. It doesn’t work so well when I’m reading across the timelines and all over and in-between a massive crossover event, but I am still having a lot of fun with it for the most part. And if there’s one character that I’ve really come to like, it is Robyn Locksley, the faux-Robin Hood of the Grimmverse and the story of her damnation and redemption. She’s been one of the more consistent characters for me thus far, and that is indeed one of the things that draws me to her.
The first issue of Robyn Hood: Legend was the first Robyn-centric story I read from the Grimmverse and also the one that I really liked. I’ve read the first volume (mini-series) since then, and that too was a good story, although not on the same level as Legend #1. Still, I trucked on with the series and have by now read Legend #2-4, and they’ve all three proven to be good stories about a tortured hero looking for some good in her seemingly-cursed life. It also helps that the artwork has been very consistent thus far, because a good story can only go so far if the artwork is not good, and the artwork in Robyn Hood: Legend is quite good indeed.
Getting back into Zenescope’s various books with their Age of Darkness crossover event has been quite a fun experience. I haven’t dabbled too much into it as yet, but what little I’ve read has proven to be better than I expected, much better, and that in itself is quite rewarding. And in particular, I’ve found their gender-bending spin on Robin Hood to be one of the best things about their Grimm-verse right now, because Robyn Locksley aka Robyn Hood has proven to be quite a feisty and interesting character. That I am coming in to these books in the “middle” of the story hasn’t really bothered me, and that too has been a good thing.
This time I went a bit farther into Robyn’s history than the Robyn Hood: Legend #1 issue I read over the weekend. Robyn Hood: Age of Darkness is from about three months back, and it is set at an earlier time of the event timeline as the Dark Queen prepares for her army to take over the Grimm-verse and Robyn is dragged into the queen’s web of conspiracy and mystery and deceit. Writer Pat Shand has teamed up with Joe Brusha for the story for this issue and they turn out another great story here that has a very strong mixed espionage/urban fantasy feel and Larry Watts’ artwork is consistent with what I’ve seen on Robyn Hood: Legend #1.