Blog Archives

Conan Vol. 2: The God In The Bowl and Other Stories (Comics Review)

With Conan Vol.1: The Frost Giant’s Daughter and Other Stories, Dark Horse embarked on a bold strategy where the classic Conan stories were shaped anew, with writer Kurt Busiek putting together a continuous narrative that charted the rise of Conan from a simple Cimmerian warrior to the King of Aquilonia. With the addition of fantastic artists like Cary Nord and Dave Stewart, the series began well with the first volume, establishing a clear frame of reference for the characters and his adventures in a way that would always leave you wanting more.

In Conan Vol.2: The God In The Bowl and Other Stories we see more of the same as Conan now sets out for the Nemedian city-state to learn more of the world, to hone his skills as a thief and see more of what the world at large could offer someone like him. Kurt’s writing is very much on point in this volume, as it was in the previous one, and now that the Cimmerian is in more familiar circumstances, the story becomes all the more enjoyable. And along the way, artists Tom Mandrake, Cary Nord, Thomas Yeates and Dave Stewart add a particular vividness to the visual aspect, enhancing the story in every way possible.

Read the rest of this entry

Conan Vol. 1: The Frost Giant’s Daughter and Other Stories (Comics Review)

Of all the heroes over the years who have left their mark on the wider world of fiction, few if any come close to the pedigree of Conan the Barbarian. Multiple movies, hundreds of comics, numerous novels and short stories. Decade after decade goes by and he is always there in some form. Dark Horse Comics, who have held the license for the comics on the character for several years now have done a great job of shepherding Conan through various iterations, whether as a young warrior first stepping out in the world, or as an aged king. That is where we start with here.

Conan Vol.1: The Frost Giant’s Daughter and Other Stories is a collection of some of the earliest Conan stories, chronologically speaking, where we meet Conan as a young adventurer who barely knows of the world outside of Cimmeria but is eager and willing to explore. Writer Kurt Busiek weaves the many stories together into a stunning narrative that is enhanced by artists Cary Nord, Thomas Yeates, Dave Stewart and others. The story is a little fuzzy here and there, but the creatives here have captured the essence of Conan really well and delivered a stunning package.

Read the rest of this entry

Comics Picks For 25.02.2015

There haven’t been any “Comics Picks of the Week” articles for a while, and the major reason for that is because I’ve just been too caught up with other stuff and I just can’t be… well bothered. It just takes too much out of my time to keep these titles going, especially when Wednesdays also see me trying to get through two TV shows and doing reviews for them. Though, that situation has kind of abated now.

Anyway, this week’s surprise hits were Batman: Arkham Knight #2 and Gotham Central Book 1 from DC. It was a relatively small week for me since I didn’t read all that many new titles and most of those were middling. Ongoing greats were Django/Zorro #4, John Carter: Warlord of Mars #4, Fantastic Four #643 , Inhuman #12, Aquaman #39 , Catwoman #39 , and He-Man: The Eternity War #3 among others .

Anyway, here’s another edition of “Comics Picks For…”. Full reading list, as always, is available here and all my comics reviews are available here.

Read the rest of this entry

Agents of Artifice by Ari Marmell (Book Review)

A new year means a new reading challenge of the “25 Series I Want To Read” variety. You can find a list of authors and series (the original post for the challenge that is) over here. In the past two years that I’ve been doing this, I kinda-sorta completed the challenge in 2013, and I definitely completed it last year. It is a really fun challenge to do, and allows me to pick and choose from a wide variety of genre greats and genre debuts (relatively speaking), which is one of the many reasons that I do it all. Plus, as a consequence, it also exposes me to a wider variety of fiction out there and gets me to connect with it all on a very different level, even series that I’ve read before becoming a blogger.

One of the first books I’ve read this year is the first Planeswalker novel for the Magic the Gathering setting from Wizards of the Coast, Agents of Artifice. This is pretty much an intro novel to the setting, and it definitely has a lot of typical Ari Marmell flavour, which I’ve experienced before in his Widdershins novels from Pyr Books, as well as his Darksiders novel from Del Rey. Following the Planeswalkers Jace Beleren and Liliana Vess, this novel explores the wonderful plane of Ravnica and is a fairly good read, though not without its flaws.

Read the rest of this entry

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!

Read the rest of this entry

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!

Read the rest of this entry

Constantine Season 1 Ep 1 (TV Show Review)

And… that’s it. All the new and recurring shows that DC Entertainment was going to be putting out this Fall are finally here. We started off with Gotham, continued on with The Flash and Arrow, and now we have Constantine. My previous experiences with John Constantine extend only to the 2005 movie with Keanu Reeves and the recent New 52 comics, specifically Constantine and Justice League Dark. As such I’m not a long-time Constantine fan since I’ve never read Hellblazer, but I do like the character, and seeing him get adapted for live-action television is a great feeling after the failure of the previous adaptation.

Debuting Friday night on NBC, Constantine‘s first episode did a lot of apparent heavy build-up of the character and his supporting cast, but it failed to make a lasting impression on me. The premiere feels like a bunch of random scenes strung together without any real payoff. Yes, the show has some really cool moments and nods to various other comics characters, but it simply not as strong as DC’s other recent shows, all of which have been much more memorable from the get go. It simply feels like a stock horror/demons show rather than something uniquely DC.

Read the rest of this entry

Comics Picks For 06.08.2014

And here it is, I have caught up to my “lists” backlog as far as this particular feature is concerned. Writing three of these back-to-back takes a lot out of you, that is for certain, especially because of all the tags I have to add and what not. Either way, I am now “current”. And just as the previous feature, a lot of the comics here are from previous comics since I’m still attempting to catch up to Mount Backloggia Maximus.

The surprise hits of this week were Cartoon Network: Super Secret Crisis War #2 from IDW Publishing, Chew: Warrior Chicken Poyo #1 from Image Comics, Grimm Fairy Tales #100 and Grimm Fairy Tales Giant-Sized 2014 from Zenescope Entertainment and Batman: Eternal #18 from DC Comics. The surprise flop of the week would be Legendary Star Lord #1, which was pretty much written as Peter Quill being Han Solo. That’s the vibe I got off it at any rate. The other comics were all decent at the least and I even managed to read a trade collection this week, beginning the start of my big “Witchblade read” from Ron Marz’s epic run on the title.

Anyway, here’s another edition of “Comics Picks For…”. Full reading list, as always, is available here and all my comics reviews are available here.

Read the rest of this entry

King Conan: The Conqueror #6 (Comics Review)

Conan the Barbarian, Conan the Cimmerian. These are the more popular names of the sword-and-sorcery hero Conan who has been a trend-setter for many decades now, his popularity itself going up and down a fair bit. Not all are familiar with King Conan however, from a time when Conan was no longer just a warrior and a mercenary but a ruler with far lands to call his own, with subjects, with a queen even. I started reading King Conan: The Conqueror from the mini-series’ first issue a few months back and it has been one of the most entertaining Conan stories I’ve read to date. Certainly among the best, by far.

King Conan: The Conqueror #6 marks the end of this mini-series and also of the story that began back in King Conan: The Hour of The Dragon. Now, everything that Conan has been through in the past five issues comes to a resounding (and somewhat obvious) conclusion and really, it could not have been better. Truman and Giorello take the reader for a ride through Aquilonia and beyond, and all along the way they are as impressive as they’ve ever been in this series. No doubt about that. This particular mini-series is certainly going down in my list as one of the best Conan stories I’ve read to date.

Read the rest of this entry

Comics Picks For 25.06.2014

This past has week has actually been a pretty rough week. I think there were about 3 days in all where I didn’t even put up any posts on the blog. And it took me almost 10 days to read just 2 short books, which is pretty damn rough by my standards. And as of yesterday morning I was well in the position of barely having read even ten comics in the past week. But since yesterday evening I set out to change that and I have managed to read thirty comics in all, which is the first of such a milestone for me. And possibly the last since my wedding is this Saturday and things are gonna kick up a notch from tomorrow afternoon.

The surprise hits of this week were Clive Barker’s Nightbreed #2 from Boom Studios, New Avengers Annual #1 from Marvel Comics and Batman: Eternal #12 from DC Comics. The surprise flops would be Star Wars: Rebel Heist #3 from Dark Horse Comics (again!), Batman #32 from DC Comics and Original Sin: Hulk vs Iron Man #1 from Marvel Comics. Comics that I expected to be great, such as Grimm Fairy Tales Presents Helsing #3 from Zenescope Entertainment, Ms. Marvel #5 from Marvel Comics and both Superman #32 and Justice League Dark #32 from DC, were every bit what I wanted them to be. And I’d like to make a special note of Justice League #31 which proved to be quite interesting after the snoozefest that was Justice League #30 in the month prior. No graphic novels in this week, but that’s fine.

Anyway, here’s another edition of “Comics Picks For…”. Full reading list, as always, is available here and all my comics reviews are available here.

Read the rest of this entry

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!

Read the rest of this entry

Comics Picks of The Week 30.10.2013

Slow reading this week, mostly because of the fact that my weekend was taken up entirely with celebrations for Diwali, an annual Indian festival, and because the National Novel Writing Month began on the weekend too. So I was either having a blast with cousins, and getting tired out a lot, or doing lots of writing on a new project which you can read about here.

Right mix of comics once again, some of them disappointing, some of them unexpectedly good, and some in between as well. Got another graphic novel finished this week, which was good. I’ve had it on my reading list for ages now, so its nice to get that out of the way and reduce my immense reading pile by that much at least. Pretty tough to maintain a reading list as long as mine.

Next week, or this week rather, should be good since there are a lot of cool comics coming out. And I’m hoping to get another graphic novel out of the way. We’ll see.

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.

Read the rest of this entry