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Conan Vol. 2: The God In The Bowl and Other Stories (Comics Review)

With Conan Vol.1: The Frost Giant’s Daughter and Other Stories, Dark Horse embarked on a bold strategy where the classic Conan stories were shaped anew, with writer Kurt Busiek putting together a continuous narrative that charted the rise of Conan from a simple Cimmerian warrior to the King of Aquilonia. With the addition of fantastic artists like Cary Nord and Dave Stewart, the series began well with the first volume, establishing a clear frame of reference for the characters and his adventures in a way that would always leave you wanting more.

In Conan Vol.2: The God In The Bowl and Other Stories we see more of the same as Conan now sets out for the Nemedian city-state to learn more of the world, to hone his skills as a thief and see more of what the world at large could offer someone like him. Kurt’s writing is very much on point in this volume, as it was in the previous one, and now that the Cimmerian is in more familiar circumstances, the story becomes all the more enjoyable. And along the way, artists Tom Mandrake, Cary Nord, Thomas Yeates and Dave Stewart add a particular vividness to the visual aspect, enhancing the story in every way possible.

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Conan Vol. 1: The Frost Giant’s Daughter and Other Stories (Comics Review)

Of all the heroes over the years who have left their mark on the wider world of fiction, few if any come close to the pedigree of Conan the Barbarian. Multiple movies, hundreds of comics, numerous novels and short stories. Decade after decade goes by and he is always there in some form. Dark Horse Comics, who have held the license for the comics on the character for several years now have done a great job of shepherding Conan through various iterations, whether as a young warrior first stepping out in the world, or as an aged king. That is where we start with here.

Conan Vol.1: The Frost Giant’s Daughter and Other Stories is a collection of some of the earliest Conan stories, chronologically speaking, where we meet Conan as a young adventurer who barely knows of the world outside of Cimmeria but is eager and willing to explore. Writer Kurt Busiek weaves the many stories together into a stunning narrative that is enhanced by artists Cary Nord, Thomas Yeates, Dave Stewart and others. The story is a little fuzzy here and there, but the creatives here have captured the essence of Conan really well and delivered a stunning package.

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Comics Picks For 10.12.2014

Almost a month after the last time, I finally had a Magic 40 week! And not just any plan Magic 40 week, but one where I managed to read three graphic novels as well!

For this week, the surprise hits were Fables: The Wolf Among Us #1 from Vertigo Comics, Death of Wolverine: Logan Legacy #6 and Spider-Man & The X-Men #1 from Marvel Comics, Justice League #32-36 from DC Comics and The Valiant #1 from Valiant Comics. The comic (yes, the only one!) that proved to be rather disappointing, even unexpectedly so, was New Suicide Squad #5 from DC. Apart from that, a good run continued on several other titles like HexedJohn Carter: Warlord of MarsBatman: EternalBirthrightPrometheus: Fire and Stone and others.

The three graphic novels for this week were: Grimm Fairy Tales: Code Red Volume 1, which is set during the recent Age of Darkness crossover event from Zenescope Entertainment, Mighty Avengers Volume 2 from Marvel, which is an effort by me to catch up on this mostly-good title, and Supergirl Volume 1, which is an older Supergirl title, pre-New 52.

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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Fast-Shot Comics Reviews 10.12.2014

This segment is proving to be quite interestingly popular in certain corners, and I still am taken with how it allows me to cover so many more comics than I would otherwise be able to. It is suitably time-intensive as well, which can sometimes wear on me when I have so much more to do, but not such a big deal. Plus, choosing which comic to feature here, while a challenge, is also quite a fun process in and of itself, so that’s something as well.

The picks for this week are: Brides of Helheim #3, Chastity #4-6, Dredd Uprise #2, Hexed #5, Spider-Verse Team-Up #2 and Prometheus: Fire and Stone #3-4. Lots of catch-up on the reviews this week, as you can see!

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Comics Picks For 12.11.2014

Getting on a roll again, this week I managed to repeat the “Magic 40” with 2 graphic novels and 38 singles, with many of the latter being absolutely new series, so that was a lot of fun for the most part.

My top picks for the surprise hits of the week would be Archer & Armstrong: One Percent #1  from Valiant Comics, Deep State #1 from Boom Studios, Django/Zorro #1 from Dynamite Entertainment and Vertigo Comics, and The Kitchen #1 from Vertigo Comics also. The most disappointing comics of this week were  Captain America and the Mighty Avengers #1 and Death of Wolverine: Logan Legacy #4 both from Marvel Comics, New 52 – Batman #36 from DC Comics and Grimm Fairy Tales: Cfinderella #1 from Zenescope Entertainment. Other than that, the regularly great titles like Hexed, Fables, New Suicide Squad, Red Sonja and Unity all proved to be immensely fun.

The graphic novels for this week were King Conan: The Hour of The Dragon by Timothy Truman, Tomás Giorello and Jose Villarrubia, and Fables Volume 5 by Bill Willingham, Tony Akins, Jimmy Palmiotti, Daniel Vozzo, Todd Klein, James Jean, Mark Buckingham, Steve Leialoha.

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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Brides of Helheim #2 (Comics Review)

Last month Cullen Bunn kicked off the second stage of his Helheim saga with the release of Brides of Helheim #1 which takes a look at the main character of Rikard some time after the events of the previous series as a young Viking girl by the name of Sigrid searches him out to exact vengeance for her father’s death. It was a pretty great issue, in terms of both the art and the story and I loved it, which is why I wanted to read more and even went and got the first mini-series, though I haven’t had a chance to read it as yet.

This past week’s Brides of Helheim #2 continues the story of Rikard and Sigrid even as the writer gives us some background on the spae witches who have been Rikard’s enemies, along with their distant master who is emerging into the world once again. Cullen Bunn packs the issue with some astounding moments of character and action, even as Joelle Jones and Nick Filardi render them quite beautifully. The second issue is as good as the first one, and as the mysteries and story deepen, things look set to get better and better on all fronts.

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Comics Picks For 01.10.2014

After two straight weeks of reading 38 singles and 2 graphic novels, this week saw me lagging behind, with only 36 singles read and no graphic novels at all. Makes me kind of sad since there were comics that I was really looking forward to reading in GN format, but I just couldn’t get the time, and I’m seriously behind on my novel reading as well.

The surprise hits of this week were Brides of Helheim #1 from Oni Press, The Damnation of Charlie Wormwood #1 from Dynamite Entertainment and Gotham Academy #1  from DC Comics. The disappointing comics of this week were Fantastic Four Annual #1 from Marvel Comics and Green Arrow #35 and Green Lantern & New Gods: Godhead #1 both from DC Comics. Titles like Death from Wolverine #3 from Marvel, Angel & Faith Season 10 #7 from Dark Horse Comics, and Grayson #3 from DC comics continued to rock it.

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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Brides of Helheim #1 (Comics Review)

I find the Age of Vikings to be a great setting, with a lot of storytelling potential, no matter what kind of a story you tell with it. There’s something very intriguing about the entire era and the myths that have come out of it, and the entire Nordic culture as well. Whether it be the TV show Vikings or Marvel’s Thor or James Lovegrove’s Age of Odin, there’s something very… vivacious about the setting. Sure, there’s all the heroism and the adventure, but at its core, there’s something very involved about the age of Vikings that draws me in, probably one reason why I started writing a Norse mythology-based space opera last year!

One of my more recent run-ins with the Age of Vikings is this week’s Brides of Helheim #1 by Cullen Bunn and Joelle Jones, published by Oni Press. Apparently, this new series is a spin-off of an earlier mini-series by the same duo, Helheim, and carries the story forward of a warrior named Rikard, condemned to life as an undead even though his heroism in life could have seen him in Valhalla. Cullen writes a very involving story here as Rikard is approached by two young warriors Sigrid and Brand to help them defeat a monster, and the art by Joelle and Nick Filardi is just superb.

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Trinity Rising by Elspeth Cooper (Book Review)

Trinity Rising is Elspeth Cooper’s 2012 sequel to her 2011 debut Songs of the Earth, and is the second novel in her Wild Hunt epic fantasy series. Going into the novel, I had quite high expectations of it since the debut was a fairly strong debut novel on its own and was one of my better reading experiences in that year. But Trinity Rising failed a number of my expectations and it ended up being nowhere near as good as its predecessor. Still, my interest in the Wild Hunt remains undimmed and I’m planning on reading the third novel soon, so we shall see how it all goes.

This review is a repost of the original review on The Founding Fields, which can be found here.

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Songs of the Earth by Elspeth Cooper (Book Review)

Two and a half years ago I got it in my head to make an effort to read as many of the David Gemmell Morningstar Award shortlisted nominees as I could. Maybe it was because all these finalists were debut authors of the previous year or something, but I thought that it would be a fun little challenge to take on. One of the very first books I read as part of this impromptu challenge was Elspeth Cooper’s Songs of the Earth, which is the first in her Wild Hunt series. It ended up being a fairly interesting novel by all accounts, with a really fun magic system and some fun characters as well, so I was rather pleased with it in the end. If you want to read something different from the norm, then Songs of the Earth is definitely something to check out.

This review is a repost of the original review on The Founding Fields, which can be found here.

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The Painted Man by Peter V. Brett (Book Review)

Peter Brett’s Demon Cycle series is another series that I wanted to read when I got back into reading in late 2011, given that his name often came up alongside those of author (very) popular authors on a lit of “best of” lists. I eventually got to read the first novel last year, as part of my “25 Series To Read In 2013” reading challenge, and the experience was… illuminating. As with many of the other highly popular books I’ve read in the last three years, I didn’t come away as impressed as I’d hoped/expected to, but The Painted Man was still a good read, enough that I wanted to carry on with the sequel, though I never got the chance to.

This review is a repost of the original review on The Founding Fields, which can be found here.

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Best of 2014 Part 1b: Monthly Comics

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!

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