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Best of 2014: New Comics Series

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!

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Best of 2014 Part 2b: Monthly Comics

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!

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The Blacklist Season 2 Ep 5 (TV Show Review)

NBC’s The Blacklist has had an interesting second season so far. Lots of new characters have strung up in the wake of season one’s finale, and the Reddington Task Force has experienced some big changes of its own, whether that is losing some people or gaining some new allies. But things are still in flux, as they ever are on this show, and that is a good thing, since there are some mysteries still left unexplored, which define the show itself, and none more so than the relationship between Red and Liz, which got murkier and ever more mysterious in last week’s “Dr. Linus Creel“.

In “The Front” this week we see the heroes go up against a group of eco-terrorists, who have some grand plans for cleansing the world of the species that eradicates dozens of species a year. It all starts off with a murder, and by the end we are left with the team redefining some of its interrelationships and also Red finally getting one of the things he has wanted since the start of the season.It is not all that interesting an episode, personally speaking, since the eco-terrorists were rather boring, but the good thing is that the subplot involving Red and his investigation still remains a strong story, despite everything else.

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The Blacklist Season 2 Ep 4 (TV Show Review)

One of the biggest things last season in this show was the whole mystery of the relationship between Red and Liz, something that showrunner Jon Bokenkamp teased often, but never really committed to. It was really fascinating to watch regardless, and going into the new season, it was also something that I was quite looking forward to, especially when it turned out that Red did have a wife, Naomi Hyland, who was still living, and that she was going to play sort of a major role this season. Not much has been done with her to date, but I think that’s changing now.

Dr. Linus Creel” is this week’s episode and it deals with an old US government black budget program that investigated the possibilities of mind control. Where the Reddington Task Force is concerned, someone of late has been causing people to go total violent psycho and commit some horrible murders, and this is what Red has to offer to them, even providing some crucial leads. It was a good episode, partly because of how well-performed the role of Dr. Linus Creel was, but also because we got a serious peek at what Red and Naomi’s life was before it was all upended several years back, and that was the true strength of the episode, the villain himself being somewhat lackluster.

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The Blacklist Season 2 Ep 3 (TV Show Review)

Last week The Blacklist closed out one phase of the ongoing feud between Red and Berlin, leaving viewers with a vague promise that the two might be able to ally with each other to root out whoever had caused the feud between them in the first place. It was a pretty damn good episode, especially since it marked the two meeting each other face-to-face for the first time. While the first season finale and the second season premiere showcased a lot of changes on the FBI’s Reddington Task Force, things are also setting in the same kind of groove they were in towards the end of the first season.

This week’s episode, “Dr. James Covington” does some really great things, such as bringing back Tom Keen for a brief cameo and forcing Elizabeth to once more question Red’s motives and his longer game plan. Along the way she also helps take down a rogue surgeon who has been running an organ scam for a number of years, ruthlessly and callously so. Some of this episode is a bit filler, but by and large I loved it since it continued some of the mysteries from the previous two episodes while also creating some interesting new ones, keeping me hooked.

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The Blacklist Season 2 Ep 2 (TV Show Review)

NBC’s The Blacklist kicked off its second season last week on a very good note. With the introduction of the Berlin plotline last year, the show gained on a very personal, very emotional aspect that came to the fore by the end of the season when we learned that Berlin wanted Red because Red had had his daughter killed. And in last week’s season two premiere we saw that Berlin upped the stakes of his mission for revenge by kidnapping Red’s estranged wife. The character interactions and the tone of the new season were all pretty damn strong and this week’s follow-up episode builds on all of that.

The promos at the end of the first episode promised a meeting between Red and Berlin in this week’s episode. That was pretty mind-blowing in itself and something to really look forward to this week. In a game of cat-and-mouse that has all been about leverage from day one, Red gains the upper hand on Berlin this week, despite the fact that the latter is holding Red’s wife hostage and is breaking her apart piece by piece (a finger last episode, a tooth this episode). And in the midst of all this are Elizabeth and Donald, trying to keep ahead of the game of deception that Red is playing with everybody. And as a friend said, this week’s episode floored me.

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G.I. Joe v4 #1 (Comics Review)

I’ve long been a fan of G.I. Joe in all its forms, whether as an animated television series or as comics or as action figures. The recent movies have been the only disappointing part of my life-long G.I. Joe experience, sadly enough, but it is very easy to look past them for there is a vibrant and exciting franchise out there that remains undimmed in its awesomeness despite the terrible movie duology. I’ve been reading G.I. Joe comics on and off for a number of years, taking an occasional break as it were, and as I start to get back into the new phase of G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero comics from IDW, it also seems like a great time to read G.I. Joe as an ongoing.

Karen Traviss is, to my knowledge, the first British writer of G.I. Joe, and also the first woman as well. As such, she brings a very different take to the franchise than you’d expect otherwise and given her own experiences writing military science fiction over the years and all, I think it is an exciting time to be a G.I. Joe fan. This week’s relaunched G.I. Joe #1, set five years after the end of the previous series, starts the “Fall of G.I. Joe” arc and the outlook of the world in this reboot is both exciting and fresh, whether we talk story or art.

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The Blacklist Season 2 Ep 1 (TV Show Review)

Last year NBC debuted the FBI procedural The Blacklist, starring James Spader, Megan Boone, Parminder Nagra, Harry Lennix and others. It was a show that quickly built up a great following and, owing primarily to the performances by both Spader and Boone, become one of NBC’s top breakout hits. The first season championed stand-alone storytelling to a great extent and it ended on a great note with some pretty big shakeups in the status quo of the main cast. I came on to the show quite late, but I too quickly became a fan of it, especially since I love James Spader in everything he’s been, and I found myself a great new show to get excited about this Fall.

Two nights back NBC aired the first episode of The Blacklist season 2, which introduced us to the main cast and showed all the changes that have been made since the team’s big shakeup. Given that the season finale finally showed us Red’s big nemesis, we revisit him too, and it seems as if the show is definitely working towards building Berlin up to be a major villain this season, which is fine with me, though it might become a bit too unwieldy. Still, what matters is that the new season premiere was rather explosive on all counts, figuratively and otherwise and was a great start to a new chapter in the lives of Raymond Reddington and Elizabeth Keen.

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The Key to Creation by Kevin J. Anderson (Book Review)

After reading the massive first two Terra Incognita novels back to back, I was almost burned out, but I went on with The Key To Creation, the third novel, nonetheless. I wanted to complete the experience while the events of the first two novels were still largely fresh in my mind, while I still could recall all the intricate connections that Kevin was setting up and exploring. And thankfully, The Key To Creation delivered on most of my expectations, and ended up being the best of the trilogy by a decent margin.

In light of The Founding Fields currently suffering some major site issues, I’m going to be reposting my reviews from the site to the blog, so enjoy away!

The original review can be found here.

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The Map of All Things by Kevin J. Anderson (Book Review)

Once I got started on my reading of the Terra Incognita novels, I didn’t stop, I just plowed straight on, finishing the trilogy in about a week I think, or maybe an extra day or two at most. The experience was an intense one and I definitely immersed myself in the tales of dogmatic religious crusades, tragedies, adventures on the high seas and doomed romances. In many ways The Map of All Things was a better novel than its predecessor, The Edge of The World, and I loved that the series got better as it went on.

In light of The Founding Fields currently suffering some major site issues, I’m going to be reposting my reviews from the site to the blog, so enjoy away!

The original review can be found here.

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The Edge of The World by Kevin J. Anderson (Book Review)

Back in 2012 I was offered a chance to review a copy of Kevin J. Anderson’s third and final Terra Incognita novel, The Key To Creation, as part of a massive reviews-promotion event by the David Gemmell Legend Awards organizers. As I hadn’t read the previous books, and this was one of only two books on the list that piqued my interest, I accepted with the self-imposed caveat of going back to read the previous books. Daunting challenge that, because these novels are massive in true Kevin J. Anderson fashion. Fortunately, the experience was positive enough, and here we are now.

In light of The Founding Fields currently suffering some major site issues, I’m going to be reposting my reviews from the site to the blog, so enjoy away!

The original review can be found here.

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The Blacklist Season 1 Eps 21-22 (TV Show Review)

Last night was the season finale of one of NBC’s top-rated dramas of the 2013-14 season, The Blacklist. A crime drama with a focus on espionage and intelligence politics, the show was headlined by James Spader and Megan Boone, both of whom delivered handsomely throughout the entire season. As I keep saying in my reviews of the show, their performances are one of the many reasons why I like the show as much as I do. By this past weekend, I had finally caught up with the show, ready for the finale, and while some of the episodes along the way were less than good, all the good ones more than made up for them.

Episodes 21 and 22 form a single story that brings to conclusion the subplot that has been running throughout the entire show this debut season: the mystery of the connection that Liz and Red have, and just who the hell is targeting Red and his operations and consequently, why Red surrendered to the FBI in the first place back in the pilot. The finale does leave you with some more questions, but between these two episodes, we get enough answers that the big season cliffhanger rubs you just the right way.

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