Tuesday, 31 December 2013

What I'm looking forward to in 2014!!!

2014 is here!!! This past year has been pretty roller coaster for me when it came to my comics, with great books like Daredevil still going strong and more image books finding their way onto my pull list, some of which didn't last long. However, while many new books got added, a fair few also ended, keeping my monthly comic list in a nice state of equilibrium.

However, the new year has arrived, and with a new year comes new comic books and there is a number of things amongst them that I'm definitely looking forward:

1. Revolutionary War - Remember Captain Britain and MI:13? Well I sure do!!! I loved that series and, having been about five years since it came out (and ended not long after), I miss the characters that made it a success. Therefore, this 'event' (for want of a better word) is the first thing I'm looking forward to in the new year (which is convenient as it comes out in January). With creators related to the old marvel UK franchise, I think it'll be something to see.

2. Robinson and Kirk on Fantastic Four - Marvel's first family is my biggest comic collection. I have issues going back ten years. Unfortunately, Matt Fraction's recent run was a flop in my eyes. However, with former Earth 2 writer James Robinson and Leonard Kirk, the artist for the previously mentioned Captain Britain series , making the panels, I've gotta say that I'm pretty much expecting a run that will than make up for the drivel currently being released.

3. The Fallout from Earth 2 - now, this is something that has really got me hooked. When Earth 2 came out, James Robinson and Nicola Scott gave us an fantastic series with an epic story and this has vastly improved in the last two issues when Tom Taylor replaced Robinson and brought in an evil Superman and new Batman. I'm now looking forward to where this series goes from here and, especially, if I was right with my theories about Fates prophecy.

4. Serenity: Leaves on the Wind - now this was a bit of a surprise for me and I only picked it up when I went back through the solicitations for the first three months of the year. However, the crew of the Serenity are back (yay!!!) with a new mini-series (and maybe series) which directly follows on from the film. What makes this even better is the fact that Jed Whedon (Joss's brother) is writing it, meaning that it should keep pretty close to continuity.

5. The continuation of Alex + Ada - Ok, here's how it is. Alex + Ada came out in November and has released two issues so far. Why am I so excited for it to continue? Because it is that bloody good!!! Alex + Ada is the best book I pick up (sorry Daredevil), either despite or because of it being very different to what I normally read. Regardless, I really can't wait to see what comes next there.

6. The Heavenly Chord part 2 - Since picking them up in May and August respectively, I've developed a big love for Indie books Afterlife Inc. and 7 String and keep looking forward to more of their stories. This should come about this year with the release of the heavenly chord part 2, which finishes of the crossover of these two books that started back in the summer. I enjoyed part one and really wanna know how the story finishes.

7. More indie books!!! - This year I've picked up more and more indie books/books that weren't the big two and (almost) every time I continue to be impressed. Think Tank, Snapshot, Point of Impact, Lazarus, Alex + Ada, all of these have been fantastic reads and, as a result, I'm totally looking forward to more books like this. The first three months (for me) will include Dead Body Road (which has admittedly started) and The Fuse as well as the Serenity mini, but I just hope there is more to come over the following nine months.

8. The end of Where is Jake Ellis?(maybe) - Now, this is more likely wishful thinking, but I'm looking forward to the final two issues of Where is jake Ellis?, although the question still remains if I'll get to see them this year. The last issue of this series came out last February and so it's been a bit of a wait (with no end in sight). However, if (by some miracle) the final two issues do come out this year, then I'll enjoy seeing what happens to the title character going forward.

9. More Aquaman trades - In 2013 I had the good fortune to pick up all three of the New 52 Aquaman trades....and they were GOOD!!! As a result, I'm really looking forward to volume 4, which will contain the final issues written by Geoff Johns. I'm also really hoping that volume 5 (the start of Jeff Parker's run) is released at the tail end of the year so I can keep up with the adventures of the king of Atlantis.

10. The Hawkeye trade - this was a bit of a late entry, but, during a recent discussion on the Immortal Iron Fist, I was recommended the current Hawkeye series as they shared a creative team. Now I was fortunate to pick up a free copy of issue one off Comixology during their whole 12 days of Christmas deal and I liked it, which certainly added to the incentive when picking up the trade. Now, I don't know if it is any good, but based on recommendations, I'm sure looking forward to finding out.

And so, that's pretty much everything that I'm looking forward to this year, although I have no doubt that more will follow as time goes on. I just have to hope that, while not all of these will meet my expectations, the large majority will certainly prove their worth to me. That said, only time will tell so, in the meantime, Happy New Year!!!


Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Are comic books becoming more like TV shows?

So, recently I read Think Tank #11 (my thoughts on that are here, towards the bottom) which at the end, as you'll know if you read it, contains four pages of additional content about the science behind the story. Now I really enjoy this part of each issue because A. it teaches me a thing or two and means I have some understanding of the technobabble in the story and B. It gives some insight into the thoughts of the creative team.

Now usually it is the former that gets my interest more (although, admittedly, not by much). However, on this occasion, it was the latter as Matt Hawkins notes told of the creative teams plans for this series.

According to these notes, due to people being put off the book because it is black and white, Hawkins and Ekedal were planning on changing the books format so to finish 'season 1' of Think Tank at issue 12, with the second season starting after a summer break, also returning in colour.

Now, it's not the colour change that made me take notice (although I like this series in black and white), but the change in format. This is now the second book in I know of to have unveiled plans like this. Previously, I read an interview with J. Michael Straczynski about Ten Grand (see here) and within this interview, he mentioned the plan to have twelve issue 'seasons' with a small three month break between them for the creative team to complete issues ahead of time.

Now, two series is co-incidence, it isn't a market wide change, but I find it interesting that comic books seem to be mimicking television series in this way. It's certainly ironic, given that there have been a growing number of comic book inspired tv shows being announced for the next couple of years very recently. Maybe this will be how indie comics release their books in future, a variant to Marvels 'volumes' that they seem to be pushing towards recently.

But if they are becoming more like TV shows, should we soon expect midseason finales/cliffhangers? Spinoffs or crossovers (although comics already do that)? Regardless, I look forward to see how Think Tank makes it work. Besides, in the grand scheme of things, as long as the book keeps coming out, what do I care how it comes out?

Monday, 9 December 2013

A weekend of old friends and new comics

It's always nice to see old friends. Even nicer still when you get to pick up new comic books at the same time. This is what the prior weekend got to be about as I arrived at Proud Lion Comics in Cheltenham for the book signing of Afterlife Inc. Volume 3 (which I have reviewed previously, see here) While there, not only did I get yet another in depth chat with Jon Lock about his creations (poor guy has now had me chew his ear off three times in a year), but also Proud Lion owner Ben Fardon, who I'd previously met years back when he was running a shop in Swindon. It was a good catch up within a beautiful shop (I should have made my way there sooner in my life) and I'll have to find more excuses to make that trip.

Of course, along with old friends is the obligatory weekly pick up of the new comic books which, this week, consisted of only three: Earth 2 #18, Daredevil: Dark Nights #7 and Think Tank #11. A small week to be sure, but after reading them all I'm certain that the small weeks are the best.

For instance, Earth 2 continues to go from strength to strength and issue 18 is no exception as the battle against Superman rages on while even more surprises are revealed to us by Batman. Now I remember having concerns when Tom Taylor took over from James Robinson as the scribe here, but after the first issue those fears were laid to rest, while after this one they were just truly obliterated. Taylor has ramped up the suspense without missing a beat while Nicola Scott's art continues to amaze. If there is one complaint about this book, it's the focus that is being placed on Superman and Batman while the cast which carried this title up until now are pushed back . Hopefully this doesn't become the standard for the book, but for now it has me at a place where I gotta know what happened next (especially to see if my theories on the prophecy are true).

And then, there was the penultimate issue of Daredevil: Dark Nights, which continued the man without fear's high paced team up with Misty Knight in Miami as they track their witness and the man who kidnapped him, the kingpin called King (what an original name). Issue 7 had the unfortunate luck of suffering from what I call mid-story fatigue, in that it appeared to struggle for material to fill in the gap between the beginning and the end. Nonetheless, the book was still a lot of fun as Palmiotti continued to give us a street-smart, fun Daredevil displayed in the loud, vibrant art given to us by Thorny Silas. While it was most likely the weak issue of the week, I still loved it and will be sad when this mini-series ends.

Finally, there came Think Tank #11, which turns out to also be the penultimate issue of the series (apparently, Think Tank is going into a seasons format, just like TV), as David Loren once again escapes in order to rescue his girl, although is his escape and rescue simply part of someone else's master plan? I've said it before (maybe too many times) and I'll say it again; I love this series. Matt Hawkins and Rashan Ekedal continue to provide a fun, engrossing story that seems WAY to far from the end for it to be wrapped up in the next issue. However, with a cliffhanger like this issue has, that might be easier than I think.

So, that was my comics related fun for this week (or, more accurately last week, as it's now Monday when I wrote this). Hopefully next week will be just as enjoyable as I get to read the new issues of Alex + Ada and Lazarus, along with seeing the beginning of Dead Body Road.