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.
I skipped another FSCR last week, largely because I kind of felt… tired about the whole thing and just wasn’t in the mood I suppose. But, to make up, I’m definitely back in it for this week!
The picks for this week are: Ivar, Timewalker #1, Scarlet Spiders #3, Spider-Woman #3, Wonder Woman #38, Samurai Jack #16 and Star Trek/Planet Of The Apes #2.
The first Comics Picks of the new year, and while I of course wished for a Magic 40 to kick off 2015, I’m happy with the fact that I didn’t go overboard much and read only a few measly 10 comics, two of which were graphic novels.
For the first week of 2015, the top hits were SHIELD #1 from Marvel, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes from Boom Studios, Legends of Red Sonja Volume 1 from Dynamite, and Star Trek/Planet of the Apes from IDW/Boom Studios. The disappointing reads of the week were both from Zenescope unfortunate, Dark Shaman #3 and Quest: Age of Darkness Volume 1. The others… they were decent, nothing major.
As mentioned above, the graphic novels for the week were Legends of Red Sonja Volume 1 from Dynamite and Quest: Age of Darkness Volume 1 from Zenescope. The former was a fun book where Gail Simone brought together several different female prose writers, paired them with different artists, and wrote a grand, sweeping Red Sonja story. The latter was part of the publisher’s Age of Darkness event and was more a prequel story.
One of the many ways that IDW Publishing’s Star Trek franchise has thrived in recent years is with crossovers with other popular franchises, whether in comics or otherwise. I got back into comics in 2012 with Star Trek/Legion of Super-Heroes, which was a fun story in itself. Crossovers like that can often be quite fun indeed, bringing two very different properties together. There’s also the fact that crossover events have become a done thing these days, with every publisher getting on the bandwagon, especially the Big 2. Of course, in the midst of all that, IDW wouldn’t want to be left behind, especially coming after crossovers like G.I. Joe vs Transformers.
On the final day of last year, which happened to be a Wednesday and thus a New Comic Books Day, IDW and Boom Studios have released a new crossover, Star Trek/Planet of the Apes. The possibilities here are endless really, and when the crossover was announced, I was quite excited since I love both franchises, though I haven’t checked out Boom Studios’ various Apes comics, which do appear to be excellent. But we have this new crossover now, and the writers do a good job of setting up the main conflict and bringing the two wildly different settings together in a great way, which is where the artists come in and do their job.
Doing one of these posts often takes a lot out of me because of all the linking and checking and verification and formatting and everything, but lists like this also help me crystalize my year in reading, so I value them quite highly. Thankfully, I’m able to get this list out in time and most of the books on the list have already been reviewed as well, so that’s something too.
With the year 2014 now done and over, it is time to do the first of my “Best of the Year” posts, for the period 1st July to December 31st. I didn’t read as many books this time as I wanted to, primarily because I got married in the first week of July itself, and things have changed a fair bit. But life remains exciting and interesting in equal measure, and my reading also happens to match that rather closely, so I’ll take that in full indeed!
Let’s see what makes the cut and which comes close then!
The seventh book cover I pick for the 2014 edition of “12 Days of Best Covers of…” is for Star Trek: The Poisoned Chalice by James Swallow, which is the fourth novel in last year’s The Fall quintology, itself a series that is a part of the larger Typhon Pact mega-arc in the setting. James carried on from David Mack’s excellent A Ceremony of Losses in this novel, and the story he told, focusing on William Riker and Tuvok, among other characters, totally pulled me in. There’s a larger story at work here of course, and I’d certainly recommend reading from the first novel in this series, Revelation and Dust by David R. George III, which is a bit of a rough start, but builds up towards the end and the other two novels after that, The Crimson Shadow by Una McCormack and David Mack’s A Ceremony of Losses are all damn good reads.
The seventh set of comic covers I pick this year are for Death Vigil #1 by Stjepan Sejic, with cover by him as well, and the second of the set is for Grimm Fairy Tales #99 by Joe Brusha, Joel Ojeda, Stephen Schaffer, Eric Arciniega and Jim Campbell with the cover by Artgerm. Death Vigil is Stjepan’s first full work in that he is the writer and artist both, and he has been absolutely fantastic on this series. Month after month he’s delivered a great story and even better art, and the title is definitely among the best of the debuts this year. Grimm Fairy Tales #99 is basically one of the keystone moments of Zenescope’s massive Age of Darkness crossover event that has been going on for more than a year already, and it sets in motion some of the biggest events of the crossover, and is a prelude to the big… defeat of the Realm Knights themselves, the guardians of all the different Realms that connect to Earth in Zenescope’s reimagining of various fairy tales and folk tales and other myths and legends.
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.
As per my plans, I didn’t do one of these posts in the past 2 weeks since I was on a holiday. And a great holiday it was indeed. I didn’t get to do more than a very small handful of reviews, more like just two or three in all, but I managed to read a fair bit and kept myself on target for my comics reading.
The surprise hits of this week were Storm #1 from Marvel and Star Spangled War Stories #1 from DC Comics. The surprise flop of the week would be Batman #33 from DC Comics. Not exactly a bad comic but just a disappointing one. All the other comics were pretty much good, excepting Flash #33, where I still can’t really connect with what the new creative team is doing there. I wanted to read a trade paperback comic as well during this week, but the first few days of the vacation were very busy and all these comics were pretty much read in the last 2-3 days of the week so that didn’t happen.
This post is coming in at a slightly later time than I’d prefer, about two weeks late at least, but I guess I can’t really “complain” when the lateness is due to my own wedding which took place exactly two weeks ago on the 5th. It has certainly been a very busy and intense time, what with being engrossed in all the marriage stuff and then even after that there’s been one thing after another. Reading time has definitely suffered greatly, which makes me a little sad considering how much I love reading, but eh, all for a good cause really.
With half the year now over, it is time to do the first of my “Best of the Year” posts, for the period 1st January to 30th June. There’s been a ton of books that I’ve read in this period as usual, and I made a very strong effort to read more tie-in fiction than I usually do, so the list is most assuredly going to reflect that. Tie-in fiction is a very important part of the publishing industry I feel and it always deserves some recognition. Now if we could only get an award started that celebrated tie-in fiction and all would be alright with the world. Or so my thinking goes.
Let’s see what makes the cut and which comes close then!
Something I’ve remarked on before is that IDW Publishing seems to be doing a pretty good job with its Star Trek line of comics. They publish the books on a bi-monthly schedule, which is pretty impressive, and to go with that they also publish occasional specials and one-shots that expand on one area or the other of the entire franchise. I’ve had some good fun reading some of the recent comics, especially the Abramsverse line of Star Trek: Ongoing set in the new timeline from the rebooted film franchise, and am looking to delve further into the whole thing.
IDW’s latest Star Trek special, Flesh and Stone, is basically fan-service to every fan out there who loves some of the franchise’ most important leading heroes, the doctors of Starfleet Medical. About to gather for an important medical conference on Federation Starbase near the Tholian border, the doctors find themselves in a medical emergency and have to play medical detectives to find out the root cause and cure for the sickness that has claimed all the personnel at the Starbase. The Tiptons tell a wonderful and simplistic tale here as the Sharp Brothers do a damn good job with the artwork. More specials like this are most welcome.
Star Trek: The Fall has proven to be a most enjoyable event series from all that I’ve read. My interest was piqued because of the cover to Una McCormack’s Crimson Shadow, and diving into the four-part series with David R. George III’s Revelation and Dust proved to be a good place to get back into the status quo of Star Trek tie-in novel fiction. The nature of these books, taking a look at several major characters and crew and locations of this wonderful universe has been the major attraction for sure, and I really applaud the creators and the publisher for going this route.
The Poisoned Chalice is meant to be the cap-stone to this wonderful series, and it does fulfill that promise. James Swallow has been one of my favourite writers for a number of years, ever since 2006 when I started reading his Warhammer 40,000 novels. He has never really disappointed after an initial hurdle and his output in recent years has been top-notch. The Poisoned Chalice clearly is among his best works to date and it brings this series to a close in a spectacular fashion, with all that’s best about the Star Trek universe and none of the drawbacks.
In the last year, roughly, I’ve slowly gotten back on track with reading Star Trek novels. First with James Swallow’s Cast No Shadow last year, and then with the first two books in the Typhon Pact: The Fall 5-book series this year, the experience has reminded me again and again of how and why I fell in love with Star Trek in the first place. The aforementioned series also happens to be on my “25 Series To Read in 2014” reading challenge list as well, and is one of the more rocking series I’ve had the pleasure of reading as part of that challenge. The first book Revelation and Dust was slow-paced and a bit too complex but the second one The Crimson Shadow really blew my mind. Going into the third book, I wanted more the latter and none of the former.
A Ceremony of Losses is written by Star Trek stalwart David Mack and is definitely among the finest examples of tie-in fiction I’ve read to date, in the context of the best novels I’ve read to date in the Stargate, Star Wars, Star Trek, Warhammer, WarCraft and a bunch of others. This time the focus of this novel is on the Andorian fertility crisis and the consequences of the Andorians’ secession from the Federation two years ago. And our characters are also much different, although many of them are drawn from Revelation and Dust since one half of the novel takes place on the newly consecrated Deep Space 9 and on Bajor. Just as Una McCormack did with The Crimson Shadow, so does David Mack with A Ceremony of Losses and presents one of the finest examples of Star Trek fiction.