And so we come to it. The final installment of Jim Zub’s first arc on Samurai Jack. At least, I think this is the final installment, considering how the story here plays out. Its been one hell of a ride thus far and Jim Zub, along with artists Andy Suriano and Josh Burcham and Shawn Lee has done some great work. The previous four issues have been intensely enjoyable, largely in part because the stories and the art have stayed true to the original concept of the Samurai Jack setting, which is a pretty huge plus as far as I am concerned.
With issue #5 we see how Jack’s quest to find all the threads of time and rewound the Rope of Eons plays out to its conclusion. Jack has fought numerous monsters and villains to get to this point and now, finally, he is on his way to collect the final thread, which is in the possession of none other than Aku himself, Jack’s greatest nemesis, and the one responsible for removing him from his time in the first place. All the things that I wanted from this issue, I got, because Jim understands the setting and the characters, and because the artists are just so damn good in every possible way.
A stable week for a change and this meant that I was able to read some more comics this time. Didn’t get through quite as many as I wanted to, and I certainly didn’t get around to reviewing as many as I wanted to, but that’s fine really. Gotta take a bit of an occasional lighter load I think. Most of the Marvel books I read this week weren’t all that impressive (as the top picks at the end will show), but DC was better. And Vertigo’s newest series looks to be damn good too, can’t wait to check out the second issue of that next month.
And I did manage to begin my Flash New 52 read-through finally with volume 1 last night, so that’s something there. Planning to read a lot of graphic novels this year, mostly in terms of catching up with series I’ve missed out on, so we shall see how it all pans out.
My introduction to Marvel’s Marvel UK line has been fairly decent so far. With the entire brand relaunched as part of a crossover involving one-shot issues for almost all the major characters and teams, this has been one of the more fun things that Marvel has done for its Marvel Now initiative. Alpha #1 and Knights of Pendragon #1 were really cool while Dark Angel #1 was fairly decent. Now we finally get to see Death’s Head II #1, and this one thankfully continues the story that ended in Alpha #1, something that I’ve wanted to see since I read that issue.
As part of the entire crossover, this is a fairly good issue, but on its own, not so much. Characterisation is the big stumbling block for this issue, and even the art is not all that good, compared to the other one-shots that have been released so far. Death’s Head as a character is a really fun, but that’s all that there is to this issue, and the material never really transcend itself like what happened in Alpha #1 and Knights of Pendragon #1. Still, it wasn’t all that bad, and it did move the overall story forward, so that was nice.
Not as busy a week as the last but fairly busy nonetheless. The new creative teams on various ongoing titles continue to go strong, particularly Justice League Dark and Witchblade while some of the newer titles like Black Science continue to be exception, so that’s one thing that I really liked about this past week. January in particular has been a really excellent month of comics what with Marvel’s full-on All-New Marvel NOW! launch and some really good issues for DC’s Forever Evil event.
Just one graphic novel again this week, the Lee/Buscema magnificence that is Silver Surfer: Judgement. I was meaning to read at least one more, but time wasn’t on my side and I missed out. Hopefully the new month gets off to a good start.
As part of my “end of year” lists for 2013, I did a post recently for The Founding Fields where I mentioned the 5 best new comics of the year. Jim Zub and Andy Suriano’s Samurai Jack from IDW made it pretty high on that list and for good reason. It is a damn amazing series that I’ve enjoyed from day one and the creators have really taken me on a bittersweet nostalgia trip with it. Seeing Jack back again like this was a highlight of the previous year and with Samurai Jack #4 it looks like the creators are starting the year off with a bang.
The previous issues have had a big mix of situations for Jack to tackle. Outright villains, outright villainy, subtle emotional subtext and more has all been seen so far. Samurai Jack #4 goes back to basics somewhat, presenting a clear target for the hero to take down and prove his worth once more in his quest to rewound the Rope of Eons so that he can return to his own time. And of course, the art is amazing as always, most of all the colours, which were just brilliant altogether.
Welcome to the first CPoTW post of the year. Technically this should be the last of the previous year, but publishers did this funny thing where the new comics came out on 31st December, so, you get the picture.
This was an extremely thin week of comics reading for me, and I’m not quite sure what more to say more than that. I read just six comics in total and as it turns out, they all happened to be good. I suppose that even a reading machine like me needs a break now and then. And I could probably have used it, in hindsight, since I moved through through three graphic novels in the previous week. And that’s a lot. At least, all six of these new comics were good!
Part of Image Comics’ 2031 fall line-up, Rocket Girl debuted in October and quickly become quite a favourite. A mix of a near-future setting where there are teen cops, a fun protagonist with a really fun attitude and personality who is one of those teen cops, time travel into the past, and overall some really good writing and art, Rocket Girl was definitely among my favourite reads of the month. All the elements put together by writer Brandon Montclare and artist Amy Reeder really gelled as a whole for the debut issue and I hoped that the next two issues would hold up to that.
Which they do. Rocket Girl #2 and #3 came out soon after, in November and then December, and they have both been as good as the first, at the least. There’s been a slight bit of dodginess with the script, but nothing too severe and not enough for me to not enjoy the story at all as it turns out. What matters most here is that both these issues have continued to do some really fun things with the characters and the setting, and there have been surprises galore to keep me hooked on for the rest of it.
Almost a month ago we had the 50th anniversary special for BBC’s Doctor Who. It was my first ever episode of the show, and I quite liked it as you can tell from my review of it. With excellent production and cinematography, not to mention a really cool script with some great performances from everyone involved, The Day of The Doctor is one of the best episodes of any show that I’ve seen to date. Following that, I got around to finally starting on Doctor Who proper with Christopher Eccleston’s short-lived run from 2005, which was the first season of the revived show and five episodes, I’m really liking it.
Two nights ago we had the show’s Christmas Special for this year, which also marked the end of current incumbent Matt Smith’s tenure as the Doctor. Matt Smith spent three years as the Doctor, and this special is his final swansong, the third in the loose trilogy formed by The Night of The Doctor (a mini-sode), The Day of The Doctor and this one. Going in, I went in expecting something on the same level as the anniversary special, and in some ways it was, in some ways it wasn’t. All I can really say though is that I really need to move on to Matt Smith’s era!
When Genndy Tartakovsky was at the helm of the Samurai Jack series over at Cartoon Network, one thing I distinctly remember was that often times the stories would be quite simple and straightforward, bu they would also have some deeper meanings. And often they could get very emotional too. In the first two issues of Jim Zub and Andy Suriano’s Samurai Jack comics for IDW Publishing, a little bit of that emotional connection was missing. The stories were fantastic, and so was the art, but there was still that one missing component to them, in hindsight.
With the third issue, released today, however that all changes. As with most Samurai Jack stories, this one involves Jack coming to a new place, meeting the local bigwigs, fighting some monsters, and getting out in the nick of time thanks to his amazing sword skills. But there’s still a bit of a twist here, and with that twist, Jim shows that he can keep things fresh for the readers as Jack searches for the Threads of Time to rewound the Rope of Eons and get back to his own time in order to defeat Aku. As with the previous two issues, I loved this one as well.