Another week of a “Magic 40″, though no graphic novels.
This week’s surprise hits were Ivar, Timewalker #1 from Valiant, Mortal Kombat X #4 from DC, and Twilight Zone: Shadow And Substance #1 from Dynamite. The disappointments of the week were Spider-Woman #3 from Dynamite and Spider-Verse #2 and The Amazing Spider-Man #13 from Marvel and Vampirella: Feary Tales #4 from Dynamite. Ongoing greats were Wonder Woman ’77 #3 , The Flash: Season Zero #11 and Supergirl #38 from DC, Black Widow #14 and Bucky Barnes: The Winter Soldier #4 from Marvel, and, Grimm Fairy Tales: Realm War #6 from Zenescope among others.
Vertigo’s The Kitchen was one of my top 25 picks of the best new comics series to come out last year and with good reason too. Where Ollie Masters really captured the narrative feel of ’60s New York in the tale of three women making their own way after the arrest of their husbands, criminals all of them, artists Ming Doyle and Jordie Bellaire did the same with their amazing art, which pretty much perfectly captured the visual feel of the same. The first two issues have done a lot to flesh out this budding story, and it seems the team is still going all-guns-out.
The Kitchen #3 from last Wednesday furthers the story of Kath, Raven and Angie, picking up from the previous issue, at the end of which the women murdered a man who was trying to blackmail them. At the same time, one of their old friends, or rather a friend of their husbands’, is back in town and he joins up with them, leading to some really brutal scenes later on. As great as the previous two issues were, I think this one was even better. There’s something really compelling about how these three women are taking over their husbands’ businesses, and the art is pitch-perfect.
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!
A few days ago I did my best of 2014 list for the comics I read in the second half of 2014. And back in July of 2014, I did the first “best comics of 2014″ post. The reason I mention that is because of the changes I’ve made for this list. While previously I used to do it so that I put up my top 6 comics, in July’14 I did a top 12 on account of the increased number of comics I was reading at the time. And that same holds true for this list as well since I’ve gone up on the number yet again, and this list has the top 20 and then 20 honourable mentions.
More comics, yay!
So, with the books of the second half of 2014 already having been covered, I now delve into my favourite monthly comics of the same period. The next post will be a list of the top graphic novels I read in all of 2014.
Let’s see what makes the cut and which comes close then!
I was hoping for a second Magic 40 week in a row, but turns out that it was just wishful thinking. Still, I managed to get up to 30 comics this week, though no graphic novels sadly.
There was only one surprise hit this week, Eternal #1 from Boom Studios, as pretty much all the other comics I read this past week were ongoing series I’ve been following for a while. The disappointments of the week were Spider-Woman #2 from Marvel and Future’s End #33 from DC. And the ones that continued a great trend were the likes of Black Widow #13, Justice League #37, Catwoman #37, Supergirl #37, Wayward #5 and others.
Vertigo’s latest, The Kitchen, proved to be a surprise hit for me last month. I originally found out about it through series co-creator Ming Doyle and then discovered that another favourite artist, Jordie Bellaire, was on the credits as well, so going in, I had some high expectations and they were most decidedly met. The story of three women, wives of jailed mobsters, The Kitchen is quite a moving story about women who want respect in the world, who work for that respect with all they go, and who are not going down without a fight.
This past week’s The Kitchen #2 is all about Ollie Masters and Ming picking up from where things left off the last time, with the three women putting another mobster in a coma by beating the hell out of him for interfering on their turf. Or rather, what used to be their husbands’ turf. In the new issue, the writers also show the women having some doubts about what they’ve been doing, which is good to have at this point in time. The writing is just as good as it was on the first issue, and the same goes for the art as well, all the way!
It certainly is no secret that making it past double digits is an immense challenge for comics these days, what with all the relaunches and reboots that seem to happen every now and then. But when a title has been going on for almost two decades, almost without interruption, that’s when you know that things are going good. Last year Ron Marz and Laura Braga created a new jump-on point for new readers of Witchblade with #170 and they did it with little fanfare but lots of awesome. And they’ve been going at it ever since, turning out one good story after another.
Witchblade celebrated its 175th issue last week and again, this was all without fanfare. I actually didn’t know that issue #175 was going to be a special anniversary issue with more than twice the content until I picked up the issue and started reading. Ron and Laura wrapped up their first arc on the series last month and now they delve into new territory as they explore some of the more ephemeral and psychological aspects of the Witchblade, and the bonus content rocked from start to finish as well, including a short story from a completely different creative team.
When The Amazing Spider-Man came out in 2012, opinions were polarised, largely because many people thought that it was far too soon for a reboot of the friendly neighbourhood wall-crawler, and I agree that it kind of was. But with a new direction that promised to atone for the mistakes of the trilogy, I was very excited for the movie. And I loved it. Andrew Garfield made a really great Peter Parker and captured the best of the character. And then there was Gwen Stacy, Spidey’s original girlfriend. She rocked that movie. With lots of mysteries, lots of action, and a great overall story, The Amazing Spider-Man stands for me as one of the best superhero movies to date.
And now we have The Amazing Spider-Man 2, the sequel, and this movie had me even more excited than I was for the first movie. Because we were getting another villain new to the Spidey movies in the form of Elektro and Jamie Foxx promised to be a great Elektro. But not only that, we also had Harry Osborn as the Green Goblin and Paul Giamatti as Rhino. The movie promised to be great, but there was a concern that it would fall under the weight of so many supervillains. Well, the reality is quite different indeed and The Amazing Spider-Man 2 proved that it was a better movie than its predecessor, which was already pretty damn good.
Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti have been on kind of a roll with their Harley Quinn series. Starting with the #0 anthology issue and then the main series itself, Harley Quinn has quickly become one of DC’s quirkiest characters. Of course, she was quite a loon before, but under Conner-Palmiotti’s pen she has become something else entirely. I never thought that there could be a book from DC that was so off its rocker and packed with so much madcap humour. But Conner-Palmiotti have managed to do just that exactly, and it has been one hell of a read so far.
Harley Quinn #5 is all about Harley’s adventures with the old and retired agent Sy-borg, who has a vendetta against some old Russian gangbosses he thought he took down ages ago. Now he finally has all the intel he needed and he has drafted in Harley because of her history and her present problems. Unlike previous issues, this new one doesn’t advance the meta-story at all, but it tells a fairly decent one-shot story. And we have Chad Hardin back on the series now. The art is decent but that’s it.
Another great week this time. Lots of fun new tiles and old ones returning for new installments. The highlight of the week had to be the upcoming graphic novel by Paul Dini and Joe Quinones Jr. for which I managed to get a review copy. Long live NetGalley! And the graphic novel definitely delivered on its promise too, although there were a few things that I didn’t like so much.
With all the new series coming out, its definitely a good time to be in comics, and most of all if you have been a fan of certain series like Daredevil and Unity. I’m still behind on certain series though and there are a lot of comics that I am behind on, as I was painfully made aware this past week. And the pile is mounting every week. Just too many things to stay current with.
For some reason, Image’s Rocket Girl has seen some significant delays between the third and fourth issues, with the former having come out in December and the latter this past week. Not really sure why that is, but I can definitely say that it is a series that I have missed. Dayoung is an amazing protagonist, with lots of attitude and a fantastic outlook on life. With her, the story is pretty damn good fun and she is certainly one of the star attractions, which is as it should be.
In the previous issues, we’ve seen the rumblings of some major conspiracy going on at Quintum Mechanics in 2013, which has led to Dayoung going back in time to 1986 to prevent it all. Somehow. And now we are finally seeing her supporting cast get some more screen-time, particularly Commissioner Gomez and Officer Leshawn, and even the scientists from back in ’86. The overall plot doesn’t progress so much in the new issue, but we get some great character drama nonetheless and some really great non-stop action, which all rocked together. And Amy Reeder’s art was better than ever.
I seem to be developing a very weird relationship with Harley. Her new series, while been quite the sales success, hasn’t really wowed me as much as I expected it to. The first couple issues were great, but the last two haven’t been as as great sadly. Part of that I think is that story-wise Harley is not that easy a character to write when she is taken so completely out of her element as Jimmy Palmiotti and Amanda Conner have done. But, it does give them a lot of opportunities to tell some really exciting stories, and on that front at least, the writing duo has delivered well.
In the new issue released this week, we see a very normal day in the life of Harley. She is currently a building manager on the side while performing as a shrink in a hospital and is also a roller derby enthusiast at night. And she has assassins coming after her, for reasons she has yet to discover. Exciting times certainly, but something is lacking here all the same. I need an over-arching plot for this series, something that says this is what the series is about. However, with Stephane Roux as the guest artist for this issue, I loved the visual beauty of the series, and want more of it.