15 Aug

Monthly Comics Update -July 2015

Reviews for July 2015

July was supposed to be a light month of comics for me. The Comics.Community podcast was on hiatus and I had recently pruned my pull list to a paltry few regular titles. Little did I realize that Marvel’s Secret Wars event was going to be so good that I had to pick up several titles. Also, I had forgotten about all of the #1 issues I had earmarked for my short box during the last three months of Previews episodes. All of that added up to nearly a comic a day for the month of July.

 

marvel -A-force #2  
aforceI’m enjoying a look at what the actual heroes are doing during this Battleworld/Secret Wars event, because most of the other books are focusing on villains or anti-hero type characters. The fact that She-Hulk is leading a group of all female heroes also adds an interesting angle to this story as the group dynamics are noticeably different than a male or mixed gender group. Score: It’s Good!

 

marvel -Princess Leia (2015) #5 (of 5)
leiaMy patience has finally run out on the Princess Leia comic. Thankfully, it’s also the final issue of the mini-series. I’ve noticed a downturn in the writing and art of all the Star Wars books after issue 2 or 3, and this book was the weakest of them all to begin with. I know people who like this book, and I’m probably being too harsh, but I had higher hopes for this book than what it delivered. Score: Disappointing.

 

marvel -Red Skull #1 (of 3)
redskullIssue one of this strangely compelling mini-series almost immediately threw the entire premise of the book on its head. A small cadre of heroes and villains are forced to go into the wastelands to find evidence that the Red Skull is dead. In this issue they find out just how doomed their suicide mission really is. Score: Intriguing.

 

 

marvel –Secret Wars #4 (of 8)
secretwarsALL HAIL DOOM! ALL HAIL BENDIS!
I keep asking myself; How is this event so good? It just is, and I need to accept that and move on with enjoying Secret Wars for what it is. The best comic book event ever. There, I said it. Four issues in and it’s already the best, most sophisticated, and most daring event the big two have ever pulled off. DC has tried some daring stuff. 52 was daring. They never pulled it off this well though. For that feat we must all be grateful. Score: Best. Event. Ever.

 

marvel -Shield Vol. 1: Perfect Bullets TP
shieldThe SHIELD comic is a nice blend of the comic book and television versions of the iconic Marvel peacekeeping agency. You get the feeling that they just plucked Coulson et al straight off the TV show and plopped them in the 616 universe without many problems at all. Watching Simmons interact with Ms. Marvel is pure joy for fans of the TV show, and watching Coulson team up with Spider-Man for a mission to Dr. Strange’s house seems like everything the Marvel Cinematic Universe would like to see in its phase 3. Score: It’s Good.

 

boom-studios -Spire #1 (of 8)
spireI was as excited by this title when I heard about it, but the comic itself didn’t actually grab me as something I need to read every week. I might pick this up in trade when it comes out, but it wasn’t the amazing read that I was hoping for. Score: It’s ok. It’s fine.

 

 

image -We Stand On Guard #1 (MR)
standThe next Saga, this is not. I just didn’t really buy into the premise as much as i thought, and none of the characters really interested me. The final blow was that I didn’t really like the art very much either. That’s three strikes as far as I’m concerned and this will be the only issue of the series that I buy. Score: Maybe in trades if the reviews are stellar.

 

 

idw -Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency #2 (of 5)
dirkSuch a quirky and interesting series after only two issues. Dirk is somehow miles away from solving any of the mysteries that are swirling all around him like moths around a flame. This series mixes whimsy and tension like no other series I can think of other than Dr. Who. Score: Whimsy!

 

 

dark-horse -Harrow County #3
harrowLike any good tale of terror, Harrow county is giving us answers that just lead to more questions and deeper mysteries. Ghastly spirits haunt an abandoned graveyard in this issue, but are they the monsters or the victims? Score: Creepy!

 

 

 

idw -Star Trek Green Lantern (2011-) #1 (of 6) Reg Rodriguez
trekI’ve always considered Green Lantern to be a one-man Starship Enterprise, so seeing these two iconic franchises together is like a bit of personal fanfic come to life. That said, what’s most interesting here is how this crossover delves into Green Lantern mythos by tackling the Spectrum War. Other than that, this wasn’t a particularly good first issue because it was 99% setup and didn’t do much to get me excited about the series. The last page reveal was fun though. Score: Fanfic!

 

Featured Review

boom-studios -Strange Fruit #1 Main Cvrs
fruit

I’m kicking myself for not immediately recognizing the lynching reference made by this book’s title. Strange Fruit is about race relations in the Jim Crow era south, a time in which outright hostile and violent racism was the norm, and it’s a serious and important backdrop for any story. This is why I was so confused by the fantastical element that was introduced into the story at the end of this book.

I’m going to spoil things a bit those who haven’t read the first issue. So, skip this review completely if you want to avoid spoilers.

At the end of issue #1, a spaceman drops from the sky and saves one of our characters from being lynched by a local chapter of the KKK. The interdiction of an alien plays out like a scene from a superhero comic and distracts from the seriousness of the story. It turns what could have been an impactful study of our country’s dark past into a backdrop for some kind of sci-fi fantasy tale.

At best, the inclusion of an alien who looks like an African Adonis has a real ‘Brother from Another Planet’ kind of feel to it. At worst, it smacks of ‘Inglorious Basterds’ style wish fulfillment and pseudo-history.

The difference between this story and ‘Brother’, however, is that the late 70’s / early 80’s era New York City explored in that movie was used to shine a light on current social injustices that were not widely explored at the time. Mainstream audiences at the time either weren’t aware,or were willfully ignorant of the depths of racism that still existed. Thus, when an alien from another planet chose to camouflage himself as a Black American in order to blend in with humanity, then discovered that he did anything but blend in due to racial prejudices, it came as a shock and a lesson to the audience. My question for Strange Fruit is, what exactly are we going to learn about the oppression of Jim Crow era Mississippi that we didn’t already know? It was a terrible time. We all know this. How does adding an alien into the mix change our understanding of the era?

I’m really going to keep a critical eye on this series to see what questions it both poses and answers because the backdrop they’ve chosen for their story is not one that should be used lightly or fruitlessly. Score: It better pay off big.

 

dc-comics -Black Canary (2015-) #2
canaryThis is a bit of a breather issue as we get a training montage with BC teaching the band how to defend themselves, and we also get some history behind the band as a former member shows up to add a little personal drama into the mix. We don’t learn much about the bad guys in this issue or why they’re after Canary & crew, but that’s fine. Let’s give the story some room to breath after a cramped #1 issue. Score: Let it breath.

 

image -Empty Zone #2 (MR)
emptyzoneWow. What a second issue this was. The first issue was great, and this second effort just added to the greatness. We learned about the world, characters, and plot with deftly executed storytelling that answered our questions then slapped us right across the mouth with new ones. This is the best comic out there right now. I guarantee. Score: Simply the best.

 

 

idw -Godzilla In Hell #1 (of 5) 
godzilla2This was an interesting first issue in which there was no dialog, save for an occasional ROAOAOAOAAORRRR! It is literally Godzilla tromping through the first level of Hell, Dante’s Inferno style. I liked this issue and I liked the wordless storytelling, but I have some philosophical questions. Does a giant radioactive lizard really feel burdened by sins? Do the moral and ethical judgements of Heaven and Hell really apply to the King of Monsters? I’m not so sure. The only thing I do know is that none of that holds up against radioactive laser-breath. ROAOAOAOAAORRRR! Score: Gojira is Lord.

 

marvel -Hail Hydra #1
hydraThis was an odd little part of the Secret Wars event that has me wondering who’s who and what’s what in this sprawling event. It seems like some people understand that they are on a world composed of other kingdoms, and other people do not. This leaves me wondering if the version of Ian Zola-Rogers we meet in this story is one of the people who don’t know they’re on Battleworld, or if this is somehow the 616 version who just ended up here. In the few issues of Captain America I’ve read recently, Falcon-America and Ian-Nomad were messing around with dimensional transportation technology they stumbled across in a Hydra base. Maybe this is the direct result of that story. I don’t know. Score: I’m lost and it’s my fault.

 

image -Island #1 (MR)
islandI loved the first story in this anthology magazine by Emma Rios, but the other two didn’t really grab my attention. A touching prose-only essay by Kelly Sue Deconnick was a nice break between comics and showed that good writers can hold your attention in any medium. Overall, I wasn’t overly excited by this first issue, but I am going to continue to support this experiment in comicbook form, as I feel it has too much artistic merit to dismiss after one issue. Score: At least It’s art, man.

 

marvel -Planet Hulk #3
hulkBLARGH! I want so badly to love this comic. Unfortunately, I do not love this comic. After only three issues the premise is wearing awfully thin and the writing is breaking down terribly. Characters are acting irrationally just to move the plot along, which is one of the worst sins a writer can make. The sin is compounded when it’s a version of my favorite character ever, Steve Rogers, who is the one being written irrationally. Score: Disappointed!

 

dc-comics -Gotham By Midnight #7
gothamI haven’t been a fan of the new art and the new direction of the story since the first arc ended in issue #5. Although I liked the story in this issue just fine, I am definitely missing Ben Templesmith’s art. Score: Losing interest.

 

 

idw -The Infinite Loop #4 (of 6)
loopTime Travellin’ Teddy threatens to destroy all of space and time unless the villains behind the death of her beloved Ano come out of hiding and face her. This book is coming apart at the seems, as all the different plot threads are being pulled at once. Hopefully, everything can be pulled back together over the final two issues because it would be a shame if it stopped making sense completely and ruined what started out as such a promising adventure. Score: Time is fleeting.

 

dc-comics -JLA Gods and Monsters Batman #1
godsbatmanMan. I thought this was going to be at least an interesting premise, but the writing was so flat and the art so devoid of energy that I had trouble keeping any interest in reading this book to the end. I think I did, but I can’t really remember anything that happened other than Batman killed a few people that he normally wouldn’t have.  Score: Forgettable.

 

 

marvel -Old Man Logan #3
The rabbit hole that is Secret Wars runs very deep, my friends, and this issue of Old Man Logan takes us farther into the warren than we’ve ever been. We find Logan mysteriously transported to the land of Stark, where Tony is the Baron but the Technovirus is king. Where is this story leading us, and to what end? I’m not even sure of Logan’s motivation in this story, other than he knows something is wrong and won’t stop until he finds out what. Typical Wolverine motivation, truthfully. Score: Still a good old time.

 

dc-comics -Batgirl Annual #3
bgannualThis was an odd non sequitur of a story that saw Babs crossing path with a shadowy government agency to take down a random terrorist group operating in Gotham City. We get a hint at what Dick Greyson has been up to lately and we learn that Babs can recognise him by the contours of his posterior even while her mind is being fooled by hypno-technology. Other than that, kind of an unremarkable story. Score: Batgirl of Butt-side.

 

dc-comics -Batgirl (2011-) #42
batgirlLivewire is a fun villain for Babs and Robo Bats to tackle, though it is pretty hard to believe that Jim Gordon can’t immediately recognise his own daughter as Batgirl, especially in her new costume. It’s a comic book thing, but still. I worry that this title may have peaked with the controversial issue #37, as that’s the last story that really made an impact on me. Score: It’s more Batgirl.

 

dc-comics -JLA Gods and Monsters Superman #1
JLAGodsChanging Superman’s origin story to be the son of poor immigrant farmers should make for a fascinating social commentary. There were some moments of fascination and some attempts at social commentary, but overall the writing and art fell flat for me. For some reason, both books in this Gods and Monsters series sounded better in theory than they ended up being in practice. Maybe it was just the execution, or maybe it’s just best to not fix what ain’t broken. Score: Not interested.

 

marvel -Star Wars (2015-) #7
starwarsThe closer we get to the new movie, the less I’m interested in filling in the cracks of the old stories. What was Ben Kanobi doing between episode III & IV? Moping in the desert, not being a Jedi, and creepin on young Luke Skywalker. These are not things I needed to see. His guilt at forsaking his Jedi ways is compelling, and the art was improved in this book, but it’s not enough to keep me buying this title. Episode Issue VIII will be the last issue of this comic in my pull list. Score: The Force snoozes.

10 Jul

Monthly Comics Update -June 2015

Comics Update June 2015

Here’s everything I read in June. I’m giving my thoughts here because I wasn’t on the Comics.Community podcast much last month and had no way of expressing my incredibly valuable insights.

Marvel

Not a great month for Marvel even though I bought several titles. I was disappointed in several of my regular books and even the one new title I bought. That said, Secret Wars is still amazingly good. If this was the new Marvel continuity going forward I wouldn’t be upset and it would be a damn bold move on their part.

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #1
This is the story of how the world would have been different if the events of Civil War and One More Day hadn’t revealed Peter’s secret identity and erased his marriage to Mary Jane. It’s also a subtle middle finger to all the fans who hated those two controversial events by reinforcing the idea that Peter Parker can’t be Spider-Man, and can’t be a true hero, if he has other responsibilities like a wife and family.

Bull-snot, I say. Bull-snot.

SECRET WARS #3
The saga of Battle World continues to twist and turn as doctors Doom and Strange each reveal some secrets and also make plans for the future. Also, some loose ends show up in the forms of 616 and Ultimate characters who were missing at the end of Time Runs Out.

The writing and worldbuilding in this event have been better than I could have ever expected. I’ve decided to appreciate each issue as it comes just in case the excellence can’t be sustained for the entire run. If the writing falters then at least I’ll have this time to appreciate what they’ve produced thus far.

STAR WARS #6
I’m falling out of love with the new Star Wars comics. The writing and art seem to be dipping in quality. It’s not a bad comic, but it is sliding from its lofty perch atop my pull list and will probably be cut from the list altogether after this month.

STAR WARS: DARTH VADER #6
Darth Vader was the one Star Wars title that was holding its ground on my pull list, but now this one seems to be losing steam and losing focus on what made it so good. The best part of this book was the tension between Vader and the Emperor.

As Sith Lords, their master and apprentice relationship is always hanging on a thread because there can only be one master and one apprentice. Meaning, Vader is always trying to supplant the Emperor as master and the Emperor is always trying to replace Vader with another pupil. Now that the tension between the two is somewhat diffused, so is the book.

STAR WARS: PRINCESS LEIA #4
This story hasn’t really grabbed me, mainly due to the annoying characterization of Leia as such a reckless character. It seems she’s headed towards a character arc where she grows into the more responsible leader that we know from the movies and comics, but it’s an arc that I’ve already seen before.

Ms. MARVEL VOL 3: CRUSHED
Crushed is how I felt after reading the first half of this volume. I had to double and triple check that it was the same creative team on this volume as previous volumes because the writing and story took a dramatic turn for the worse. The language seemed very juvenile and ill-conceived both for the narration and the dialog. Basically, I didn’t like it.

I didn’t have a problem with the story of Kamala being stabbed in the back by her first crush, though the execution was very rushed, but everything before that happened was dreadful. The second half of the book picked up a bit, but the overall mediocrity of this volume has me questioning my own giddy feelings for Ms. Marvel.

Ms. MARVEL #16 Last Days

A few lingering melancholies from her heartbreak in “Crushed” aside, this was a nice bounce-back from the disappointment of Vol. 3.

Issue #16 gets us back to what made Ms. Marvel such a great hero. People in Jersey City need help, so she rushes to the rescue with no questions asked.

Last Days is a tie-in to the big finale of the old 616 MCU and serves as a snapshot of where certain heroes are at as this world ends and Battleworld begins. Also, a nice cameo on the last page makes me interested to see what happens in the final, final issue of Last Days.

DC

With Convergence mostly in the rear-view mirror, DC is starting to unveil what it might look like going forward. If inconsistency was a super power, DC would be Class 5,000.

The new “TRUTH” storyline running through DC comics is… something? I guess. At this point I just don’t understand why all this truthiness is suddenly so important. I see the impact it’s having and how it affects the characters, but I just don’t understand the greater point of the storyline.

Anyway, at this point anything is better than convergence and this new direction is at least somewhat interesting.

BATMAN #41
Batman is gone. Gotham needs Batman. There is a new Batman. Enter the Robo-Batman. Not an original story by any means, but they’ve managed to add a new twist to it by introducing a new high-tech corporation into Gotham City that’s trying to help Gotham by giving the GCPD their own version of Robocop dressed as Batman. So far, it’s been fun. Which is just about all you can ask for from DC these days.

BATMAN/SUPERMAN #21
The world is all about Batman v Superman these days so this book is trying to set up as many “versus” situations as it can. A newly depowered Superman vs. a newly roboticized Batman is the latest scenario that actually puts Batman on the more powerful footing for a change. The first fight was short and sweet, but it looks like they’re going for a rematch next issue that might actually have some stakes.

BLACK CANARY #1
The only DC comic I was truly happy with this month was the new Black Canary title. This is a spin-off of the highly popular and entertaining Batgirl comic wherein we learn that Black Canary wants to give up the superhero lifestyle for a more normal life and therefore decides to be a rock star. Why not, right? Well, in this book we learn the why not.

It looks like this book will be a fun ride, but I wish this first issue had taken a little more time to focus on the band and their life on the road before all the superhero craziness got introduced. I know it’s a “superhero” comic, but I still wish they had let it not be one for at least a few issues.

CONSTANTINE the HELLBLAZER #1
Hmmm. Uh huh. Ehhh. Uhhh. Hmmm. These are the noises I was making as I read issue one of the new Hellblazer comic book. Spoiler, I didn’t like it. I didn’t hate it either, though. There were some good points. Some nods to the character I knew from the first 100 issues of the original Hellblazer. However, by the end of this book I was left feeling like I had just read someone’s Cliff’s Notes version of John Constantine. It’s like the writer was checking off the boxes of what the character was supposed to be like without actually understanding who he is. Or rather, who he once was.

By the end of the issue I had come to the realization that the Constantine I knew only exists in those first hundred issues from way back when. Maybe even the first 50, if I’m honest. Maybe this new John will resonate with a new audience. I hope he does because I’ve already got my version of the character frozen in memory and locked away in back-issues for all time.

Perhaps John Constantine was the perfect character for the perfect time. The end of the 80’s. End of the Cold War. Fear of the future. Suspicion of the past. Old cultural institutions devouring themselves as they crumbled into obsolescence. It was a changing world in 1988, when the first issue of Hellblazer hit the shelves. It was a scary, worrisome, time for many and John Constantine wasn’t the hero who came to save the world or make it better, he was the hero who didn’t give a piss and just came to watch it all burn.

WONDER WOMAN #41
So, after recent events, Wonder Woman is now a god. THE god, in fact. THE god of Mt. Olympus anyway. Baby Zeus and momma Zola are safe. Queen Hera is part of team WW now. The rebellious Amazons are safely incarcerated and everything is going just fine. I guess that means it’s time for a new costume!

The reasoning behind the new costume is solid. She’s shedding the old costume she donned as a girl for a more grown up look. That’s fine. Most people can relate to that idea… I just wish the costume was actually more grown up looking. It looks terrible, to me. It has no style, garish colors, and it looks like someone chewed up every comic book costume ever then vomited out a gross amalgamation of them all.

Anyway, there’s a new mystery brewing. Someone on earth knows she’s the god of war, yadda, yadda, yadda, the costume sucks.

Image

A slim month for Image comics this month, but the one title that I did pick up was well worth it.

EMPTY ZONE #1
Man. I can’t stop thinking about this comic. The moment after I finished the last page, I had to go back and start reading it again to figure out what I missed. Turns out that I didn’t actually miss anything. I just failed to understand what I had read.

This is a very exciting new series that I can’t wait to keep reading. The setting is a strange mix of futuristic with post-apocalypse that very much reminds me of proper Cyberpunk. The main character is a tortured enigma whom, after one issue, I have dubbed “the cybernetic John Constantine” for the way she’s tortured by literal and figurative ghosts from her shadowy past. She also has some mysterious connection to and control over technology that reminds me of Constantine’s relationship with magic.

A book like this is why I read comics. Go read it for yourself.

Dark Horse

Perhaps through necessity Dark Horse is slowly but surely moving away from their licensed titles and towards more new creator owned titles. This should be a good thing, and it is, but their titles just don’t have quite the same appeal as Image comics. Not yet anyway.

The Dark Horse comics I bought this month are good, but not great.

HARROW COUNTY #2
I’m enjoying the creepy and mysterious vibe that Harrow County is putting out, but I will admit that the story is a bit slow with the details of what exactly is going on. I’m rather enjoying the slow burn of this story, though I do understand that it might not be for everyone.

REBELS #3
More American Revolution! That’s a good thing. Read your history people!
In this issue our hero, Seth, meets up with the legendary patriot Ethan Allen and decides to join him on a military campaign. This does not sit well with Seth’s new bride, but… freedom and stuff. Seth’s reasoning for leaving home once again are short and not well explained, but he’s a patriot dammit! So, his reasons are self evident.

This is a very slow comic with a lot of historical and political references that might (let’s just say it) bore the snot out of some comic book readers. I, however, am soldiering on like a good patriot to see if things pick up once the actual war begins in earnest.

IDW

IDW seems to be hedging their bets by publishing nice, safe, license based titles that are sure to sell alongside more risky and risque titles that might not appeal to a wide audience. This observation is, of course, based on my own pull list that includes a wacky sci-fi comedy, a lesbian time-travel romance, and a licensed title that has somehow managed to create a crossover event with itself.

D4VE #5
The conclusion to D4VE is pretty much what I thought it would be as soon as the new aliens were introduced into the story. This made for a more exciting, yet more predictable, story and really changed the flow of the book from a story about a guy/robot past his prime to a guy/robot looking for redemption. It wasn’t a bad change, but it was a bit disappointing to me because it felt like I was reading the Incredibles, except with lewd robots instead of Pixar cartoons.

GHOSTBUSTERS: GET REAL #1
Hrm. A neat idea poorly executed. Getting the comic book Ghostbusters together with the Animated Ghostbusters via a dimensional rift is a fun idea, but we JUST had basically the exact same thing happen with the TMNT/GB crossover and the 1st issue of this crossover showed no signs of being much different or superior to the previous crossover.

THE INFINITE LOOP #3
More wacky timey-wimey adventures with Teddy and Ano, complete with fairly graphic lesbian sex! Yowza. That was a little startling to see in a comic, but I’m a bit of a prude. It’s not that I disapprove, it’s just that my delicate sensibilities weren’t quite prepared. I guess I’m not European enough. Anyway. I continue to enjoy this French import by IDW.

This issue shows us what a status quo might look like between time travelling lovers who can create pocket dimensions that shift and change with their moods and whims. Then it abruptly shakes that status quo to the core with a mind-bending plot twist that leaves one of one of our heroes with a terrible choice to make. Should she save her love, or save the entire universe?

*Note – After reading these reviews again I’ve realized that I was pretty harsh on the month of June. I really do like comics. I swear!

28 Jan

2014 ZebuNation Awards (Writing)

awards

Presenting the first ever Zebu Nation Awards For Excellence in Comics. Nominations.

Most Prolific (Writer)

Being a prolific writer demonstrates a command over not only the art of writing, but also the craft. Anyone can take years of their life to produce one good book. Likewise, anyone can string together vaguely coherent sentences to churn out mounds of literary garbage. It takes a special writer, however, to produce both quality and quantity in equal measure.

The nominees for 2014 are:

JASON AARON
A great year for Aaron with two Thor titles, two X-titles, a blockbuster event from Marvel, and an acclaimed creator-owned title from Image.

Publisher                  Title                                                                    Issues*
Marvel Comics        Amazing X-Men (2014-Present)               19
Marvel Comics        Original Sin (2014)                                        55
Image Comics         Southern Bastards (2014-Present)        18
Marvel Comics        Thor (2014-Present)                                     12
Marvel Comics        Thor: God of Thunder (2012-2014)        25
Marvel Comics        Wolverine and the X-Men (2011-2014)  7

 

RICK REMENDER
Remender continues his steady creator-owned output with three acclaimed series from Image, while also adding three flagship Marvel titles.

Publisher                   Title                                                                Issues*
Marvel Comics        Avengers X-Men: AXIS (2014-Present) 17
Image Comics        Black Science (2013-Present)                  15
Marvel Comics       Captain America (2012-2014)                  32
Image Comics        Deadly Class (2014-Present)                    23
Image Comics        Low (2014-Present)                                     10
Marvel Comics       Uncanny Avengers (2012-2014)              30
Marvel Comics        Winter Soldier: Bitter March (2014)      13

 

KIERON GILLEN
Gillen really cranked out the issues for Avatar Press while also producing a breakout hit with Wicked+Divine from Image and one of Marvels best graphic novels in Origin II.

Publisher                   Title                                                                Issues*
Avatar Press         God is Dead: The Book of Acts (2014)       6
Marvel Comics       Iron Man (2012-2014)                                    27
Marvel Comics        Origin II (2014)                                                12
Avatar Press         Uber (2013-Present)                                        68
Image Comics         Wicked+The Divine (2014-Present)        20
Marvel Comics        Young Avengers (2013-2014)                    4

 

CHARLES SOULE
What didn’t Charles Soule do in 2014? Killed Wolverine, Doomed Superman, ended Swamp Thing & Wonder Woman. Throw in an acclaimed run on She-Hulk and a creator owned title from Oni Press just for fun.

Publisher                   Title                                                                       Issues*
Marvel Comics        Death of Wolverine (2014)                            35
Marvel Comics        The Logan Legacy (2014-Present)              4
Marvel Comics        Inhuman (2014-Present)                                20
Oni Press            Letter 44 (2013-Present)                                       14
DC Comics         Red Lanterns (2011-Present)                              15
DC Comics         Red Lanterns: Futures End                                   2
Marvel Comics        She-Hulk (2014-Present)                                20
DC Comics         Superman/Wonder Woman (2013-Present) 37
DC Comics         Superman/Wonder Woman: Futures End     2
DC Comics         Superman: Doomed (2014)                                 7
DC Comics         Swamp Thing (2011-Present)                             14
DC Comics         Swamp Thing: Futures End                                  2
Marvel Comics        Thunderbolts (2012-2014)                             18
DC Comics         Wonder Woman: Futures End                              2

 

NATHAN EDMONDSON
Edmondson became the go-to-guy for spies in 2014 with titles like Black Widow, Deathlok, Punisher & Splinter Cell.

Publisher                   Title                                                                Issues*
Marvel Comics        Black Widow (2014-Present)                27
Marvel Comics        Deathlok (2014-Present)                        6
Image Comics         Dream Merchant (2013-2014)               3
Marvel Comics        Original Sins (2014)                                  1
Marvel Comics        Punisher (2014-Present)                        22
Dynamite Ent.        Splinter Cell: Echoes (2014)                  3

 

CULLEN BUNN
Writing for books ranging from Godzilla to Green Lantern, Bunn racked up an astonishing number of bylines in 2014 and worked with just about every comic book company that mattered.
Publisher                   Title                                                                   Issues*
Dynamite Ent.        Army of Darkness (2014-Present)            14
Oni Press                  Brides of Helheim                                           4
Marvel Comics        Deadpool vs. Carnage (2014)                    5
BOOM! Studios        Empty Man (2014)                                         9
Marvel Comics        Fearless Defenders (2013-2014)               3
IDW Publishing       Godzilla: Cataclysm (2014)                         12
DC Comics         Green Lantern/New Gods:Godhead (2014) 2
DC Comics                Lobo (2014-Present)                                      2
Marvel Comics        Magneto (2014-Present)                              25
Marvel Comics        Night of the Living Deadpool (2014)      9
Dynamite Ent.        Shadow (2012-2014)                                      2
DC Comics         Sinestro (2014-Present)                                      12
DC Comics         Sinestro: Futures End                                          4
Oni Press         Sixth Gun (2010-Present)                                     10
Oni Press         Sixth Gun: Days of the Dead (2014-2015)      3
Oni Press         Terrible Lizard                                                           3

*Issue count tabulated using www.stashmycomics.com. May contain variants. Does not contain collected volumes or reprints.

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Best Old Favorites (Writers)

Some creators have been so excellent for so long that excellence is always expected, but scarcely rewarded. This award judges the best of the best in their own category, by their own set of standards, and corrects the injustice of taking these masters of the medium for granted.

Best Old Favorites recognizes the well-established creator who produced simply the best work or works during the year, compared against their own career body of work.

The nominees for 2014 are:

DAN SLOTT
Dan has been THE man for Spider-Man since 2008, writing just about every Spidey story of consequence during that span. In 2014 Slott kicked it up a notch with the end of Superior Spider-Man and the return of Peter Parker. He also spread his wings with a fresh and exciting take on Silver Surfer.
Publisher                 Title                                                                      Issues
Marvel Comics       All-New Marvel Now! Point One (2014) 3
Marvel Comics       Amazing Spider-Man (2014-Present)      95
Marvel Comics       Silver Surfer (2014-Present)                       16
Marvel Comics       Superior Spider-Man (2013-2014)            41

 

GREG PAK
The man who brought us World War Hulk and Incredible Hercules launched a Storm solo title in 2014 and also played in DC Comics toy box with a solid run on Action Comics and a mind-bending twist on the classic Batman/Superman team up.
Publisher                 Title                                                                      Issues
DC Comics             Action Comics (2011-Present)                     24
DC Comics             Batman/Superman (2013-Present)           43
Valiant Comics     Eternal Warrior (2013-2014)                         11
Marvel Comics      Storm (2014-Present)                                     9
DC Comics              Superman: Doomed (2014)                          2
Dynamite Ent.      Turok, Dinosaur Hunter (2014-Present)  87

 

WARREN ELLIS
One of the largest personalities and most respected names in the history of comics, Ellis still managed to surprise and thrill in 2014 with a genius take on C-List superhero Moon Knight. Ellis also racked up the critical acclaim with two intense and heady series from Image.
Publisher                 Title                                                                      Issues
Marvel Comics      Avengers Assemble (2012-2014)                5
Marvel Comics      Moon Knight (2014-Present)                       19
Image Comics      Supreme Blue Rose (2014-Present)           6
Image Comics      Trees (2014-Present)                                         7

 

GRANT MORRISON
Another heavyweight in the comics industry, Grant Morrison needs no introduction. Though he wasn’t the busiest writer in 2014, he did manage to bring an end to DC’s New 52 with the genre bending mini-series Multiversity. In his spare time he also used the new, Hollywood-based, Legendary Comics to satirized Hollywood in his Annihilator series. Morrison is so meta.
Publisher                        Title                                                                      Issues
DC Comics                      Multiversity (2014-Present)                          7
Legendary Comics      Annihilator (2014-Present)                            5

 

ROBERT KIRKMAN
The man who brought us Invincible and The Walking Dead… Brought us more Invincible and Walking Dead in 2014. Consistent excellence is still excellence and Kirkmans two blockbuster series kept on rolling in 2014 with new and interesting plots to keep these long-form comics as relevant as ever.
Publisher                         Title                                                                     Issues
Image Comics                Invincible (2003-Present)                           15
Image Comics                Outcast (2014-Present)                               16
Image Comics                Super Dinosaur (2011-Present)               3
Image Comics                Walking Dead (2003-Present)                   34

 

ED BRUBAKER
The man who turned Bucky Barnes into The Winter Soldier has seemingly turned his back on Marvel and DC by producing only creator owned books in 2014. Long known as the king of crime, suspense, and noir, Brubaker hits a triple in 2014 with a spy series (Velvet), a crime series (Fade Out), and a horror/noir series (Fatale).
Publisher                         Title                                                                      Issues
Image Comics                Fade Out (2014-Present)                               9
Image Comics                Fatale (2012-2014)                                           9
Image Comics                Velvet (2013-Present)                                     8

 

MIKE MIGNOLA
Mike Mignola does Mike Mignola like no one else. His distinctive art and writing styles continue to thrill and chill with excellent new mini-series from Hellboy, BPRD, Baltimore, and the underrated Lobster Johnson.
Publisher                           Title                                                                             Issues
Dark Horse Comics      Abe Sapien (2013-Present)                                  11
Dark Horse Comics      B.P.R.D.: Hell on Earth (2013-Present)            17
Dark Horse Comics      Baltimore: Chapel of Bones (2014)                   2
Dark Horse Comics      Baltimore: The Witch of Harju (2014)              3
Dark Horse Comics      Baltimore: The Wolf and the Apostle (2014) 2
Dark Horse Comics      Dark Horse Presents (2011-2014)                      2
Dark Horse Comics      Hellboy and the B.P.R.D. (2014-Present)        2
Dark Horse Comics      Hellboy: In Hell (2012-Present)                           2
Dark Horse Comics      Lobster Johnson: Get the Lobster (2014)       5

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My Eisner Nominees (Best Writer)

The Eisner is the premier award in the comic book industry. Therefore, I will hijack the prestige of this award and declare my own winners from the list of Eisner nominees. Some of the following nominees may have qualified for other Zebu Nation awards, but I figure that being nominated for an Eisner should be enough for them and there’s no need to hog other awards.

Kelly Sue DeConnick
Kelly Sue makes a strong bid for an Eisner with a critical darling series from Image and a fan-favorite take on the iconic Captain Marvel.

Pretty Deadly (Image);
Captain Marvel (Marvel)

Matt Fraction
The Eisner trend seems to be writers with a pairing of one excellent indie comic and one outstanding “big two” comic from either Marvel or DC. Fraction is no exception thanks to his critical darling, Sex Criminals, and main-stream hit, Hawkeye. Throw in the end of the Fantastic Four just for extra credit.

Sex Criminals (Image);
Hawkeye, (Marvel)
Fantastic Four, FF (Marvel)

Jonathan Hickman
Hickman always confuses his readers, but in East of West and Manhattan Projects he confuses us in the best possible ways. Add to that a world-changing event for the Avengers and we may have an Eisner winner.

East of West, (Image)
The Manhattan Projects (Image);
Avengers, Infinity (Marvel)

Scott Snyder
Critics and fans agree that Snyder’s Batman title is far and away the best thing to come from DC’s New 52. Throw in two creepy gothic horror titles that fit perfectly with DC’s Vertigo line and you have an Eisner worthy 2014.

Batman (DC);
American Vampire (DC/Vertigo)
The Wake (DC/Vertigo)

Eric Stephenson
I’m going to be honest. I’ve never even heard of Eric Stephenson or his comic, Nowhere Men, until I saw this list of Eisner nominees. Either that means he is the favorite to win the award or this is some kind of prank by the Eisner committee.

Nowhere Men (Image)

Brian K. Vaughan
One of the best writers in comics has seemingly focused all his attention on what has quickly become everyones favorite comic book, Saga. Good move.

Saga (Image)

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27 Jan

Year in Review: 2014

community

For the week of January 26th 2015.

 

Podcast RSS

 

· 2014 Year in Review:

If you listened to the Comics.Community year in review podcast, then you will have already heard my picks for best of 2014. Below are my notes from that podcast

Comics.Community – 2014 IN REVIEW

FAVORITE ONGOING SERIES 2014

-Favorite Pre-Established Ongoing Series – Your three favorite currently ongoing comic series that launched before 2014.

  1.      Saga
  2.      Manhattan Projects
  3.      Batgirl

Favorite New Ongoing Series – Your three favorite currently ongoing comic series that launched in 2014.

  1.      Gotham by Midnight
  2.      Thor
  3.      Ms. Marvel

 

FAVORITE MINI-SERIES

-Favorite Mini-Series – Your three favorite mini-series that launched in 2014.

  1.      Wild’s End
  2.      Squidder
  3.      Death of Wolverine: Deadpool & Captain America (1 shot)

 

FAVORITE EVENTS

-Favorite Events – Your three favorite “Events” that launched in 2014.

  1.      Multiversity
  2.      Original Sin
  3.      Death of Wolverine

 

GRAPHIC NOVELS AND COLLECTIONS

-Favorite Collected Edition (TPB or HC): Your three favorite Collected Editions that were published in 2014. Collected Editions are reprinted material published as a collection. The content can be pre-2014, but the collection must have been published in 2014.

  1.      Thor: God of Thunder.
  2.      Moon Knight Vol 1
  3.      Black Science Vol 1

Favorite OGN (original graphic novel): Your three favorite OGN’s that were published in 2014. An OGN is a new story published for the first time as a as a TPB or HC.

  1.      Doomboy
  2.      Andre the Giant: Life and Legend
  3.      Rocket Girl Vol 1

 

COMICS-RELATED MOVIES/TV

-Favorite comic-based movie/TV show of 2014 – Your three favorite comic-based movies/TV shows released in 2014.

  1.      Winter Soldier
  2.      Agents of Shield
  3.      The Walking Dead

 

COMIC NEWS/COMICS INDUSTRY

-Favorite Comic News Stories of 2014: What announcements/industry-events had you most excited?

  1.      Spider bum.
  2.      Marvel Movie news.
  3.      Batman/Superman in East Lansing

 –Favorite Publishers: Your three favorite publishers in 2014.

  1.      Marvel
  2.      Image
  3.      DC

Biggest Comic Flops: So much promise… so little outcome. Your three biggest comic disappointments (books you looked forward to that didn’t live up to the hype).

  1.      Pop!
  2.      Batwoman
  3.      Fire & Stone

 –Sad Cancellations: Three titles you were sorry to see go away.

  1.      Hawkeye
  2.      She-Hulk
  3.      Grace Randolph’s SUPURBIA. (Not cancelled, but done)

 –Publisher Suggestion Box: (Finish the sentence) Dear publishers, please…

  1.      DC fix Batwoman.
  2.      Marvel & DC, less heroes, more villains.
  3.      Bring back Steve Rogers.

 –Favorite Comic/Pop Culture Website

  1.      Comic Book Resources
  2.      The Mary Sue
  3.      EW

Favorite Comic/Pop Culture Podcasts

  1.      Post Show Recaps
  2.      SU&SD
  3.      AMC Movie News

 

LOOKING FORWARD TO 2015

Most anticipated comic book series (print) of 2015.

  1.      Star Wars #1
  2.      Multiversity Guidebook (80 pages!)
  3.      S.H.I.E.L.D #1
  4.     Star Trek/ Planet of the Apes

 Most anticipated comic property (TV, movie) of 2015.

  1.      The Avengers: Age of Ultron
  2.      Marvel’s Agent Carter
  3.      Walking Dead

 

02 Oct

Graphic Details – October 2014

graphic

Every Friday I’m going to offer up my full and detailed thoughts and reviews of various graphic novels and trades that I’ve read. Reading this will be a good way for you to get caught up on what’s going on in comic books today, and also hear me rant and rave about comic book minutiae. What fun!

I’m covering the following books this month in Graphic Detail:

Captain America Volume 4: The Iron Nail (Marvel Now) -Oct 3rd
Writer: Remender, Rick
Artist: Alixe, Pascal
Cover Artist: Klein, Nic

The Weapon Minus Program has been reopened, and Captain America has become unhinged thanks to the mad machinations of the twisted Dr. Mindbubble! Jet Black, daughter of criminal mastermind Arnim Zola, allies with the Falcon – but when the mysterious and powerful Iron Nail begins assassinating the heads of the world’s five largest corporations, they must make a terrible choice! Meanwhile, can Captain America put a lid on Dr. Mindbubble, or will the villain shatter Cap’s already-fragile psyche? And what happens when S.H.I.E.L.D.’s greatest secrets are revealed to the world’s most dangerous man? Captain America lays a final sacrifice on the altar of freedom as he takes on the Iron Nail – and is broken! This is the day when it all changes; this is the beginning of the end for Steve Rogers. Collecting CAPTAIN AMERICA (2012) #16-21.

Avengers, Vol. 3: Prelude to Infinity (Marvel Now) -Oct 10th
Writer: Hickman, Jonathan
Artist: Deodato, Mike
Cover Artist: Yu, Leinil Francis

The buildup to the biggest cosmic event of all! Hyperion and Captain Universe begin the godlike education of the transformed Savage Land children. But when the High Evolutionary stakes his claim on the Children of the Sun, Hyperion learns the true cost of the decisions he’s made – and the techno-titan Terminus returns! Then, the prelude to Infinity begins as all of Earth’s Origin Sites go active – and the planet begins communicating with something much more ancient than humans. And when alien races fleeing an intergalactic terror crash to Earth, Captain Universe and Manifold must take a trip across the universe. But whatever happened to Ex Nihilo, Abyss, Starbrand and Nightmask? As the Avengers recruit more members to deal with the mounting threat, the Builders enter the Marvel Universe – and INFINITY is upon us. Collecting AVENGERS (2012) #12-17.

All-New X-Men Volume 5: One Down (Marvel Now) -Oct 17th
By: Bendis, Brian Michael
Collects All-New X-Men #25-30.

The future Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, last seen in “Battle of the Atom,” are back – and they’re still gunning for yesterday’s X-Men! But even as the Brotherhood take their next devastating step against the time-tossed teens, the mysteries surrounding Jean Grey begin to unfold! Jean came back from her Shi’ar trial…different. What does this mean for her future…for the past of the woman she’s supposed to become…and for the rest of the X-Men? Past, present and future collide as the Future Brotherhood exact their final judgment on the All-New X-Men!

Justice League Vol. 5: Forever Heroes (The New 52) -Oct 24th
Writer: Johns, Geoff
Artist: Reis, Ivan
Cover Artist: Reis, Ivan

In these tales from JUSTICE LEAGUE #24-29, the Crime Syndicate hunts down the few heroes foolish enough to challenge them – including Dick Grayson! But Owlman has other plans for Nightwing…and Ultraman, too! Also, Cyborg is one of the last Justice League members left to fight against the villains that have taken over. How can he possibly find a way to defeat them? Who can he turn to? Two words: Metal Men!

Revival Vol. 4: Escape to Wisconsin (Image) -Oct 31st
Writer: Seeley, Tim
Artist: Norton, Mike
Cover Artist: Norton, Mike

For one day in rural central Wisconsin, the dead came back to life. Now it’s up to Officer Dana Cypress to deal with the media scrutiny, religious zealots, and government quarantine that has come with them. Now, as Dana closes in on the bizarre murderer of her Reviver sister, she’s swept up in a conspiracy that will bring her from rural Wisconsin to New York City! The sell-out hit series created by New York Times Bestselling writer TIM SEELEY and Eisner-winning artist MIKE NORTON is collected with bonus material! Collects REVIVAL #18-23 & CHEW/REVIVAL #1