The Exodus Towers by Jason M. Hough (Book Review)

The original review can be found at The Founding Fields, here. This is the second novel in the Dire Earth Cycle series.

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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.

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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.

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Tomb Raider #12 (Comics Review)

Last month saw the start of a new arc on Dark Horse’s Tomb Raider. Lara is currently starring in a small stage production of Pride & Prejudice by her friend Jonah, a character carried over from the Tomb Raider game. In the midst of it all we also got to see some more fallout from the previous arc, something that earned her a major nemesis, a man with a real drive to find her and destroy her, someone who is as afraid of her as he wants to kill her. It was a fairly good issue in most respects, and I definitely liked the overall change in pace as well.

Tomb Raider #11 picks up a bit after the previous issue left off, and we see that Lara is back in London and working with her friend Jonah in a theatre production, Pride and Prejudice no less unless I’m mistaken, and things are not working so well for her since she’s a terrible actor. All of this sets in motion some new stuff for the character, which brings in another villain in her orbit, and it remains to be seen whether this new villain is going to be the all-out crazy variety or something else.

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Comics Picks For 07.01.2015

No “Magic 40” in the first week of the new year, but the second week definitely sees me hit that landmark number, and with graphic novels mixed in to boot!

This week’s surprise hits were Angry Birds/Transformers #2 from IDW Publishing, Ares & Aphrodite #1 from Oni Press, Operation: S.I.N. #1 and Wolverines #1 from Marvel. The disappointments of the week were Angela: Asgard’s Assassin #2 and Ant-Man #1 from Marvel and Future’s End #36 from DC. Ongoing greats like Swamp Thing #38 and Detective Comics #38 from DC, Bucky Barnes: The Winter Soldier #3 from Marvel, and John Carter: Warlord of Mars #3 from Dynamite to name a few were just as I expected them to be: superb.

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.

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.

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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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Arrow Season 2.5 #10 (Comics Review)

Arrow Season 2.5 kicked things off pretty nicely with the ninth issue a while back (I read it last week), and it was one where some recent plot developments on the third season filtered back into the tie-in comic. Set between the second and third seasons, the series helps bridge the narrative gap between the two and it has been chugging along very nicely indeed, focusing on the characters and their relationships with each other more than anything. Oh and yeah, there’s also some great 2-page Suicide Squad backups here, though some of them aren’t as exciting as others since it is taking a loooong time for the team to get off on its next mission.

In Arrow Season 2.5 #10, we finally see some great plot progression. Like I said above, the tension isn’t there so much since we know how the characters fare in the third season, but this is still some great stories being told, and this issue highlights that to a great degree by showing us how Oliver planned to take back control of Queen Consolidated after he unwittingly handed it over to Isabel Rochev in the second season. And also, we finally get to see the Suicide Squad make a move for its Kahndaq mission, which is what I’ve been waiting for since the early issues.

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Comics Picks For 31.12.2014

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.

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.

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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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Arrow Season 2.5 #9 (Comics Review)

The first four months of Arrow Season 2.5 have seen many ups and downs for the characters involved. Along with the return of Brother Blood, albeit under a new identity, we have also seen the introduction of a new villain, the return of some heroes, and the gearing up of Amanda Waller’s Suicide Squad for another mission, this time against religious extremists. This tie-in comic to the show has been quite brilliant so far and though there have been a few things here and there that didn’t work for me, the writing and the art have both remained more or less consistent.

In the first installment of the title in the new year, this past week’s Arrow Season 2.5 #9, we see how some of the recently introduced plot-threads on the show filter back into this prequel comic as nightmares and visions. Some of the narrative flow between the different scenes felt a bit off but was made up by the fact that writers Marc Guggenheim and Keto Shimizu delivered some really interesting character moments, putting aside the usual high-tempo action for a more sedate and personal story.

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Comics Picks For 24.12.2014

The last week of 2014 and I hit my Magic 40 number. That pleases me immensely. I was hoping I’d be able to make it to this number, and I did, especially with 2 graphic novels in the mix a well!

For this final week of 2014, the surprise hits were: Jungle Book: Fall Of The Wild #1 from Zenescope and Transformers: Drift: Empire of Stone #2 from IDW Publishing. The disappointing comics of the week were Death of Wolverine: The Logan Legacy #7 from Marvel and Secret Origins #8 from DC. The regular greats like Aquaman, Catwoman, Sensation Comics, Secret Avengers, Godzilla: Cataclysm and others struck once again in the final tally.

The graphic novels for this week were Sunstone by Stjepan Sejic and He-Man and the Masters of the Universe Volume 3 by Dan Abnett, Pop Mhan, Mark Roberts, Deron Bennett and Stjepan Sejic.

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.

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