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Comics Picks For 05.02.2014

On account of traveling to and from India this past week, my comics reading took a back-seat, as did my novel reading incidentally. Very few comics read, but most of them were good at least, a saving grace.

Anyway, here’s another edition of this new feature. Full reading list, as always, is available here and all my comics reviews are available here.

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Comics Picks of The Week 22.01.2014

So this past week proved to be a rather busy week. Lots of comics came out and I think there were something like 30 titles I was interested in, not to mention my huge backlog which stretches quite a bit too. Still, I read quite a few, and I’m mostly happy with them. Interestingly enough I read almost twice as many Marvel titles as I did DC, which was a surprise considering that I enjoy DC far more and find it to be a much easier universe to get into. But, I suppose its the whole All-New Marvel NOW! relaunch at work since three of the titles I read were part of this.

My Superior Spider-Man read-through continued as well with Volume 2, which I really, really enjoyed, and will have a review going up soon for the first two volumes. I couldn’t really be bothered when the title launched last year but now that I’ve gotten a taste of it, I want more. Doc Ock as Spider-Man is really interesting and really good.

Anyway, here’s another edition of this new feature. Full reading list, as always, is available here and all my comics reviews are available here.

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Best Movies of 2013

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.

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Best of 2013 Part 2b: Graphic Novels

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!

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12 Days of Best SFF Characters of 2013: Day #9

For this new seasonal list of the best SFF characters I’ve read this year, my ninth pick is the Asgardian who doubles up on Earth as a Norse god, the mighty Thor from Jason Aaron’s phenomenal Thor: God of Thunder from Marvel Comics, a new series that started last year with the Marvel NOW! initiative and has consistently been one of Marvel’s top comics of each month. I credit Jason Aaron and artist Esad Ribic for helping me break into Marvel’s comics full and proper with this title and its been a damn good read throughout its run till now.

Hit the break to see why I picked this character.

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12 Days of Best Covers of 2013: Day #4

For this new seasonal end of year list, the fourth book cover that I pick is Brian McClellan’s debut novel for Orbit Books, Promise of Blood, the first novel in the Powder Mage gunpowder fantasy series that, for me, does some really new things with magic systems. Additionally, it describes a very rich and layered world that is driven by politics on all levels of culture and society. And finally, Brian writes some great action scenes that definitely make it easy to visualise in the mind what’s happening on the pages. That in itself is quite fantastic.

And the fourth comics cover that I pick is the seventh issue of writer Jason Aaron and artist Esad Ribic’s Thor: God of Thunder. This is the series that really got me to read Marvel comics since it was the only comic from the publisher for months that I was following regularly. The two creators together wove a wonderful space operatic tale with fantasy elements and the comic featured regularly on my end of month lists, which can be found here.

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.

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Agents of SHIELD Season 1 Ep 8 (TV Show Review)

Agents of SHIELD is a show that often tests my patience. One episode will be good, another not so much. And this flip flop continues in a loop every two weeks. There’s almost a regularity to it. It is one of the most uneven shows that I’ve watched, which is saying something since I’m quite a fan of Joss Whedon’s other shows and the ones I’ve seen have all been excellent, losing steam only about the time that they hit their final seasons. The show is extremely promising, but it just doesn’t capture the imagination as well as it should be.

Last week’s episode was kind of a bore. It lacked all the excitement and character drama of the episode the week before. But this week’s episode somehow turns it around. It is better than last week’s episode, primarily because it makes a strong effort to tie-in to the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe. And there is some interesting character development as well, with regards to Agent Ward, one character on the show who desperately needs that kind of development.

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Comics Picks of The Week 13.11.2013

Managed to read a handful of more comics this week, since there were a lot of titles released that I was really interested in, and a couple from previous weeks that I hadn’t been able to get around to at the time. As usual, it was all a mixed reading experience, with some really good comics mixed in with some bad ones and a few that straddle the fence between the two extremes. More positive ones than negative ones.

No graphic novels this week sadly, since this week was a real slog in reading, again, and I was struggling for time in general with everything else too. Perhaps this coming week can be different!

In the meantime, here’s another edition of this new feature. Full reading list, as always, is available here and all my comics reviews are available here.

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Thor: God of Thunder #14-15 by Jason Aaron (Comics Review)

Jason Aaron’s Thor: God of Thunder has been one of the biggest successes of Marvel’s line-wide reboot. A lot of that undoubtedly has to do with the Thor franchise in the Marvel Cinematic Universe being such a big breakout success as well. The second movie, Thor: The Dark World, which launched last week has so far proven to be another big hit and has broken several box office records of its predecessor already. Jason Aaron has been going all-out with the series and its an approach that has clearly worked out.

The current arc stars the long-forgotten Thor villain Malekith, one-time leader of the Dark Elves of the realm of Svartalfheim. Broken out of his prison in #13, he has been waging a guerrilla war across the Nine Realms and it has fallen to Thor and representatives of some of the other realms to hunt him down and bring him back in chains. In #14 we see the League of Realms form, an Avengers-like team-up of warriors from across the Nine Realms, and we see their first outing together. In #15, we see them a second time and this time, a lot of emphasis is placed on the character drama between the characters, rather than on the action.

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Thor: God of Thunder #12 by Jason Aaron (Comics Review)

To think, when I picked up the first issue of this series back in December last year, that I had considered the series to be of only passing interest. A full twelve issues later, here I am, a complete fan of Jason Aaron and the incredible spin he’s done on everybody’s favourite Thunder God. From a bit of a shaky beginning, Thor: God of Thunder has a come a long, long way, and is right now one of my favourite comics to read month after month. I love the character, I love the three-part narrative divided between Thors of the past, present and the future, and I love the whole mythic quality of the series. Plus that art, which has really, really grown on me.

The series wrapped up its first major arc a couple week ago in #11 as the Thor trinity finally defeated Gorr the God-Butcher in a most spectacular fashion. The arc, in totality, has been one of the most fun stories I’ve ever read and it really was an incredible experience. Quite to my surprise, this past Wednesday, Marvel released the #12th issue in the series, a sort of interlude as the Thors get back to their regular lives and Jason Aaron begins his next big arc, whatever it may be. I don’t really look at solicits so I have no idea what’s gonna happen next. Except more awesomeness. That’s one thing I can always count on Jason Aaron for these days.

Note: Some spoilers for this issue, although nothing… major.

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Best of 2013 Part 1

I did two “Best of the…” lists last year, one for the half-year from January to June, and the other for the half-year from July to December. The lists proved to be quite popular, and I was recently asked if I was going to be doing any more. To which I said yes. I like putting together lists like this. It gives me a chance to reflect a bit on all the good stuff I’ve been reading in novels and comics, or listening to in terms of audiobooks, audio dramas and so on.

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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2012 – A Bloody Fantastic Year Ends

So, the year 2012 ended a few days ago, and it’s been an absolute blast, to say the least.

Anyways, to do a small recap of my goals for the year,

  1. Write ~420,000 words of both fiction (various submissions and novel projects) and non-fiction (reviews and blogposts).
  2. Read 400 novels, comics, novellas, stand-alone short stories (still not sure if these SHOULD be included) and listen to some audio dramas and audiobooks.

At the end of October, I was very close to both of those goals, having crossed the ~472,000-word mark, and was still ahead on the reading goals, as I was at 352/400 on September 30th. You can find the November report here.

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