Not as busy a week as the last but fairly busy nonetheless. The new creative teams on various ongoing titles continue to go strong, particularly Justice League Dark and Witchblade while some of the newer titles like Black Science continue to be exception, so that’s one thing that I really liked about this past week. January in particular has been a really excellent month of comics what with Marvel’s full-on All-New Marvel NOW! launch and some really good issues for DC’s Forever Evil event.
Just one graphic novel again this week, the Lee/Buscema magnificence that is Silver Surfer: Judgement. I was meaning to read at least one more, but time wasn’t on my side and I missed out. Hopefully the new month gets off to a good start.
The road to the end of Forever Evil: Blight begins here in Justice League Dark #27. It has been five months coming, but we are finally moving towards the finale here. First with Trinity War and then with Forever Evil, this book has become one of my favourites of the New 52. The current series writer J. M. DeMatteis has done excellent in carrying on from where Jeff Lemire left off at the end of Trinity War. Now, I’ve liked everything that he has done with the current crossover and this issue in particular really does its job well.
This is one of DC’s “Dark” novels and in that vein, DeMatteis does an excellent job of showing just what that entails. This is not just any other superhero book, this is a superhero book which combines magic with the weird. We have seen a lot of big stuff happen in this book thus far and the trend continues. Great action all throughout, great magic all throughout, and Mikel Janin doing some of his best work with his fellow inkers and colourist.
The new year might have come but comics are still dealing with ongoing events that began last year, and one of these events is Forever Evil by DC in which the world has been taken over by the supervillains and evil is everywhere. Tying into this larger event is an 18-part mini-event Forever Evil: Blight which deals with the goings on in the supernatural world and concerns the remnants of the Justice League Dark as per their reformation since October last year and DC’s mythological (New 52) heavyweights Pandora and the Phantom Stranger. Till now, I’ve read only the Phantom Stranger and Justice League Dark issues of the crossover, both written by J. M. Dematteis but I have to say its been quite a fun time and Phantom Stranger #14 ended in a really good place.
Phantom Starnger #15 carries on directly from the ending of Justice League Dark #26 from the previous week, and its actually quite exciting to see this entire story develop. Having read the new issue, I do feel that I should really catch up on Ray Fawkes’ Pandora and Constantine since there is finally a lot of crossover between the books, with references being thrown back and forth, but still, I feel that if you are reading both Phantom Stranger and Justice League Dark then you are good. You’ll get the story here and you won’t be lost. Plus Fernando Blanco, Miguel Sepulveda, Brad Anderson and Travis Lanham’s art is pretty good too.
Note: This review contains some minor spoilers about the issue.
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!
Anybody reading my blog knows that my patience with the entire Forever Evil event has been wearing a little thin of late, especially given how the last two installments of the event, Forever Evil #4 and Justice League #26 proved to be less than good, at best. And with all the different tie-in arcs like Arkham War, Rogues Rebellion and ARGUS and Blight things are a little convoluted. But I gotta say that Ray Fawkes and DeMatteis’ writing on Blight is quite good. They’ve put out some great issues of late and DeMatteis’ Justice League Dark #25 was really good.
Released yesterday, DeMatteis and Mikel Janin’s Justice League Dark #26 proves to be another stellar issue. Till now they have built up a really good mystery about Blight’s plans and the fate of the missing members of the team, so its only right that as we hit the mid-point of the entire event-arc, we finally start getting some real answers about the members of Justice League Dark. And Constantine’s new team finally goes up against a member of the Crime Syndicate, with rather unexpected but quite intriguing results.
The seventh book cover that I pick for the “12 Days of Best Covers of 2013″ list is Gene Mollica’s (again) excellent cover for Jean Johnson’s third Theirs Not To Reason Why novel, Hellfire, published by Ace Books. I discovered Jean earlier this year, that is, I started reading her books earlier this year but actually heard of her work last year through an SF Signal podcast. Jean made a switch from writing romance fantasy novels to writing military space opera with this series and all the three books in this series have been quite excellent. I’m definitely a fan of her work now, and I may even give one of her (many) romance fantasy series a chance, just to see how those books hold up.
The seventh comic cover that I pick is actually a splash art for DC’s (at the time) three Justice League titles. With Justice League #22 (Geoff Johns, Ivan Reis), Justice League of America #6 (Geoff Johns, Doug Mahnke), and Justice League Dark #22 (Jeff Lemire, Mikel Janin), DC kicked off its Trinity War crossover that saw all the three different Leagues go up against each other, manipulated by a villain none of them could have been foreseen. The event got me to start reading Justice League Dark and right now under writer J. M. DeMatteis it is currently one of my favourite DC monthlies. All three issues were quite fantastic, and they set a great tone for the crossover as well.
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.
After all the build-up in the previous issues of Justice League Dark and The Phantom Stranger, writer J. M. DeMatteis gets things into gear finally with this week’s issue of the latter series. We’ve seen how the manifestation of pure evil that crossed over from Earth 3 to Earth 1 with the Crime Syndicate has begun to effect the supernatural-oriented heroes of the DC Universe and we’ve seen how Constantine and his allies have tried to take the fight to this manifestation, Blight, and failed. Now, Constantine has rebounded from that defeat by doing the impossible: bringing the Trinity of Sin to his doorstep in chains in order to solicit their help, essentially at the point of a gun.
Ever since DeMatteis took over on the series he has been turning out one great issue after another and this new issue follows that trend. It is moody, it has character drama, it has tension, it has action. Its got everything, in short, and DeMatteis has been incredibly consistent with his writing along with Fernando Blanco and Brad Anderson on the artwork. Issue #14 is where the status quo for all these characters really shifts and where a new (temporary) Justice League Dark is born.
This was a really busy comics reading week, primarily because I read two graphic novels this time around, both of them for Marvel no less. I have finally dipped my toes in full in Dan Slott’s Superior Spider-Man and the first taste has been quite interesting and fun. On the flip side, the somewhat older Immortal Iron Fist proved to be a bit of a mediocre book, but no less intriguing for that fact and I’m quite interested in the character now. Other than, a lot of the DC comics this week were really good and this is quite pleasing in fact. And Zero Year tie-ins are finally over so I look forward to a month of no such tie-ins.
I still have a big backlog of graphic novels to burn through, so I have that to keep me busy further I suppose. More on that as it happens.
Last month J. M. DeMatteis kicked off the Forever Evil: Blight arc, the fourth tie-in story to DC’s current mega-event, Forever Evil. Blight is an 18-part arc that will run through most of DC’s supernatural books all through March. Forever Evil was already DC’s biggest crossover in the New 52 relaunch, but with the addition of Blight, it has grown significantly, and for me, it definitely conveys a sense of scale that the event requires with all its involved internal complications.
Justice League Dark #24 was an excellent issue, the best in the entire series so far I have to say. Topping it would have been a tough job but I trusted DeMatteis to prove equal to the task. And he almost does. While Justice League Dark #25 isn’t as excellent as its predecessor, it is still a damn fine comic. J. M. DeMatteis continues to impress with each issue and this one is no exception at all. I enjoyed his Phantom Stranger #13 earlier this month as well and DeMatteis is definitely on a good streak right now (as long as the new Larfleeze holds up, which I’m sure it will!).
This week was a bit heavy on DC reading, mostly because a lot of top titles were released, titles I’d been looking forward to all month and so I went all-out for the most part. Some bit of Marvel and Image mixed in as well, which is always great to break up the monotony of reading just the DC-stuff. Read a bit more this week than I usually do, which was a surprise since this week was also marred by reading a really huge science fiction novel, which proved to be a long, long slog, so that’s something I guess.
Also, I finally managed to read a graphic novel, which was great. It wasn’t one that I was really planning to read, but it was on the list for a long time, so it all balances out in the end, which is what matters most. And now I’m pumped on to read more, and this week should be good on that front. Fingers crossed!
Justice League Dark is a title that I had no interest in until quite recently, when DC announced its Trinity War event. I was already reading the other two JL titles and since this was going to be a short event, I was really enthused about finally picking up the the third title as well, just so I was current on all the characters and what brought the JLD team together. It proved to be a somewhat mixed experience, given all the creative changes on the book, but Trinity War proved to be rather excellent.
With that event ended, we are now in the Forever Evil phase and we finally get an issue with the characters of the book in focus. Or rather one of them that is, John Constantine, confidence man and magician extraordinaire. And that’s not all of course, since with this issue the fourth Forever Evil tie-in begins, Blight, and this one doesn’t have its own mini-series, but is a large tale across four different titles. So this issue had a lot to live up to with new writer J. M. DeMatteis, and delivers aplenty.