Years ago, there used to be this little animated series called Defenders of the Earth. To a young kid growing up in the 90s, the show was one of the most memorable ones at the time, in part because it featured The Phantom, a comics character from my childhood that I had a ton of fun reading about in the Hindi-version comics that were released in India. I don’t remember the show all that much, but I do remember that Phantom, Flash Gordon and Mandrake pretty much kicked ass every time and that Ming the Merciless was utterly despicable, a true villain.
Fast forward to now, when Dynamite has begun releasing Kings Watch, a mini-series that focuses on the adventures of this trio and goes to some new places. The original animated series was set in 2015. It is now 2014 (the series started in September last year). Funny how that works out, huh? Reconnecting with these characters after all this time has been quite a thrill, and this first issue has been very entertaining. The story isn’t quite as put together as I would like it to be, but the art is pretty top notch and this is definitely a really good issue. One that makes me want to pick up the others immediately.
Boom Studios debuted a new title last month, the supernatural horror tale Curse which features a werewolf among other elements. For a title that I’d picked up on a whim and thus didn’t really have any expectations for, it was surprisingly good with its debut issue. I enjoy a good werewolf story now and then so reading the same in comics form is quite a thrill. But that wasn’t all with the first issue, for it had a lot more going for it than I initially realised, and I had wondered then if the second issue would keep up with that and continue to develop the same.
I really shouldn’t have worried since the second issue, released earlier this week, did in fact build on every single plot element from the first issue. There is a mystery developing here that I find very intriguing and that can’t be said for most other such stories that I read. They often have quite a singular focus so its nice to see that the writers here have branched out to do a whole bunch of different things together. And of course, the art was just as impressive as in the first issue. I love all the contrasts in the backgrounds and the snowy landscapes that we get here.
Author and artist team of Tim Marquitz and J. M. Martin got together last year to form their own publishing company, the small press known as Ragnarok Publications. As one of their first projects, they launched a kickstarter for an anthology of science fiction and fantasy stories with a very common theme: kaiju. The man with the idea here was Nickolas Sharps, a fellow blogger and writer who had recently seen the movie Pacific Rim and after enjoying the hell out of it, he got the idea to do an anthology about kaiju since it seemed as if the genre was rather sparse in terms of original fiction.
Needless to say, the kickstarter was mightily successful and just yesterday I finished reading the anthology in its entirety. As someone who had a tiny hand in bringing the project together (I suggested some of the authors who were accepted for the anthology), I’m really pleased with the final product. The anthology has exceeded my expectations and I’m quite happy to say that it is one of my most fun readings of the year so far, and we are only like 36 days in! Tim and Nick assembled some great talent for this anthology and their hardwork and that of J. M. has definitely paid off I think.
In December Jeff Parker took over writing duties on Aquaman from Geoff Johns. After more than two years of Geoff’s excellent run on the title, which saw the title become one of DC’s best-selling titles in the New 52, we are finally getting a fresh perspective on things and based on #26 and #27 both, I have to say that some really exciting times are ahead for the readers. The previous issue was almost perfect. It met my expectations and it has some great story and art both.
This past week’s #27 proved to be another good installment of the series. It wraps up the plot with the Atlantean mythological sea-monster that was terrorising Reykjavik, Iceland and at the same time it furthers the subplot involving the political tensions in Arthur’s advisory council while also giving us more information on Triton Base, a hidden underwater research base created to investigate future potential threats from the underwater kingdom and Aquaman’s relationship to it, among other things. And the art was also good, although the switch at the end with the pencillers created a bit of a WTF moment.
And so we finally come to it. This week, Fox’s Sleepy Hollow ended its first season with a special two-hour episode. As I’ve said in my previous reviews, this is a show that I’ve really come to enjoy and the previous two episodes have been some of the best work on the show yet. Sure, some subplots have been sort of ignored and so have certain characters, but overall, I can definitely say that each and every episode has been a joy to watch. It avoided many of the pitfalls of a team-up show in its first season, or just first season blues in general, and that’s been the best thing about it, among others.
There have been a damn load of revelations in all the previous episodes. In episodes 10-12, all the revelations finally begin to make sense and they come together to deliver more revelations on top of all that. Another thing is that these three episodes allowed the full cast to get their day in the sun. The writers touched on pretty much every subplot here, although I think that the finale could have done with a lot more, but still, the finale mostly left me with my jaw hanging open all the time. It also helps that the acting has been great, with Tom Mison and Nicole Beharie being the breakout actors of television in 2013 for me.
Note: This review contains spoilers about these three episodes.
Once again, a very light reading week, with no graphic novel reading at all. I took a trip to India and back over the weekend, mostly because preparations for a cousin’s upcoming marriage and mom’s treatment, so reading time was extremely limited. I’m even behind on my novel reading at the moment, so I’m generally not doing well on that front at all.
Some really fun titles launched this past week, such as Night of the Living Deadpool, so it was an entertaining week at least, for the most part.
Its been a good long while since I’ve read a BOOM! Studios title. I started sometime in 2012 with Hypernaturals, penned by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning, and drawn by Brad Walker and Tom Derenick. It was a fairly good series, but I dropped off somewhere in the middle and haven’t gone back. There was Polarity last year by Max Bemis and Paulo Coelho but that’s really it. With all the stuff that comes out from the Big 2, its tough to keep up with titles from other publishers, unless they are really good. With the publisher’s new mini-series Curse however, I think I have a series that I can stick with it.
Its only recently that I’ve really started reading (or getting back to) some horror/supernatural comics, and its mostly been a really fun experience. Coffin Hill, The Darkness, Witchblade etc have really rekindled my interest in the genre. And Curse slots in really nicely with that reading. Its got some really good writing and some good art. And it has supernatural monsters. What could be more fun than that?
Its been an interesting year for the movie industry, whether we talk Hollywood or Bollywood. Big tent-pole movies were the norm at the box office, and there were both successes and flops from each region. It can’t be denied either that some of the box offices successes have proved to be quite surprising, such as the runaway hits Frozen and The Hunger Games #2: Catching Fire, which continue to tell studio executives that female-led movies, especially action movies, CAN be successful if given a chance and that hiding behind ridiculous sexist attitudes and thinking just doesn’t cut it anymore.
Or let’s talk Guillermo Del Toro’s Pacific Rim which underperformed in the US but was a big hit in international markets and the reason for the former can no doubt be laid at the feet of the subversive trend in American media of trash-talking movies that are different.
But enough of that. This post, the first such that I’m doing, is meant to celebrate the movies that I thoroughly enjoyed this year, whether Hollywood or Bollywood, and that’s what I’m going to focus on here. So let’s have at it.
Sleepy Hollow is one of those shows that kind of slips under the radar for a while before quickly coming out explosively. The first six episodes, while really good in almost all respects, still skirted with some expected stuff. The stakes were high, the tension was always high, but still the show felt somewhat limited in scope. As you’ve no doubt seen from my previous reviews, I really enjoyed the six episodes, in particular the chemistry between the two leads Nicole Beharie and Tom Mison, who might as well be the 2013-2014 television programming season’s breakout stars for me.
Episodes seven to nine did much to up the tension even more, and increased the scope of everything, whether we talk about character backstory, or the stakes involved, or just the character drama involved. Additionally, episode eight in particular hinted in a big way that there is a very big story arc involved for the first season. Additionally, episodes seven and eight marked the return of the Horseman to the show and that in itself is worth every single second of those episodes. And episode nine really did a number with giving us more of Katrina’s backstory and had a huge reveal for Ichabod. Suffice to say, I really enjoyed these three episodes.
Vertigo’s Hinterkind is one of those out-there kind of comics that the publisher loves to put out. They are different from the norm, often bend conventions a certain way, and they all have a very unique flavour. Ian Edginton proved that with last month’s first issue, in which he told a post-apocalyptic story wherein mankind is almost extinct, nature has taken over the world, and there are creatures from mythologies and urban legends running around all over.
He continues in the same vein with the new issue, building on the things he introduced in the previous issue, adding to the world, and giving you more reasons to care about it. But at the same point, things feel a little too slow. But, this was still an interesting issue because we get to see the other side of the conflict, much as with the bookend final scenes of the first issue, and we get to find out what the Hinterkind think of humans and what their goals are.
More than Iron Man 3 or Star Trek: Into Darkness, Guillermo del Toro’s Pacific Rim was high on my list of summer movies to watch this year. As much as I was looking forward to the Superman reboot Man of Steel. The trailers promised something totally incredible that was also a lot of fun to watch because of the movies roots in the genre it was set in.
Large monsters à la kaiju? Check.
Large controlled robots à la mecha anime? Check.
Big bad-ass action scenes? Check.
Pseudo science with goofy scientists? Check.
End of the world? Check.
So in all of this, the promise is great. In a way, this isn’t something that we haven’t seen before. But still, it is something that that is completely different. Why, you ask. Well, hit the break to find out!