2013 Comics Highlights

capt-marvelIt’s the time of the year where we look back on the previous 12 months and the highlights and lowlights. Kimberley Griffiths and I dragged ourselves off our respective summer couches to throw some bouquets and brickbats:

Kimberley’s take

1. /Hawkeye v4/

This series has gone from strength to strength, and bringing in whole issues for Kate Bishop was a genius idea on the creative team’s part. Some have disliked the amount of introspection in Fraction’s book, but for me, it’s a welcome relief from the constant chaotic events that tend to take over the Marvel universe. It just edges out my number two thanks to none of its issues being annoying event tie-ins. Favourite issue? #11 (Pizza Dog), thanks to the innovative storytelling and David Aja’s fabulous art. (Marvel)

2. /Captain Marvel v7/

The first volume of Kelly Sue’s book is now over, but this has been a huge standout for me. When it first started, I was mostly just excited to see Carol in pants, but it had me hooked within two issues. Wonderfully written, only a few missteps with the art and the Infinity tie-in, and great character development. I can’t wait for volume 2.

Favourite issue? #17, which ended on a poignant, whimsical note.  (Marvel)

3. /Pretty Deadly/

Another Kelly Sue Deconnick title, this one is brand new but already shows promise to be a stand out for 2014. I feel like we’ve been waiting for it forever, but the anticipation didn’t dull any of my enjoyment – gorgeous art from Emma Rios, a witty, clever script from DeConnick, and Jordie Bellaire’s subtle touch on colours. It’s a fairytale western mystery, and if that combination doesn’t hook you, the art certainly might.

Favourite issue? #1 if only because there’s only three so far. (Image)

And the worst: Rick Remender’s /Captain America/ /v7/. I made it five issues in before I decided it wasn’t worth it, not even for Steve (Marvel). The Bounce, for being a self indulgent, trying too hard to be cool, disaster of a book (Image).

David’s take

1. /Daredevil: End of Days/

This mini-series was not only the highlight of 2013 for me but probably the highlight of the last five years in comics I’ve read. Art to die for, a brilliantly penned story with equal amounts of Daredevil history and new events – this series has got some serious praise and it’s all deserved. (Marvel)

2. /Judge Dredd/

I’m quite the Judge Dredd fan and I really like what IDW are doing with him. The stories are new, the art is more than respectable and the franchise is getting the respect it deserves. My only criticism would be that IDW oversaturated a little with the Judge Dredd: Year One and Judge Dredd Classics, although Mars Attacks versus Judge Dredd has been brilliant. (IDW)

ToddUgliest3. /Todd: The Ugliest Kid On Earth/

I’ve raved repeatedly on this title, and I’ll continue to do so. It’s wall to wall quality from an art, story and humour viewpoint. Each cover is pretty well worth the price of admission alone. (Image)

The lowlight for me was: Hoax Hunters even though I liked it a lot initially – it just lost me by issue six or seven and I just gave up.

For 2014 I’ve added Pretty Deadly to my pull list and would love any suggestions for others. Happy New Year from us all here at The Comics Herald!

Review: Mars Attacks Judge Dredd – Ewing / McCrea / Fotos

mars-attacks-dreddJust in case you hadn’t heard for quite a while now IDW have been doing some pretty amazing comics featuring two very disparate characters or franchises, with Mars Attacks Judge Dredd the latest. It’s the first time Judge Dredd has had a cross-over with another character since 2002 and it’s a fun little story that’s slated as a mini-series.

I won’t go into the story details too much except to say that Judge Dredd is in a different area of Mega-City One (the North Sectors) than he regularly works in, and is on a solo hunt. During this hunt he comes across the Martians and the fun starts from there.

John McCrea’s art is very much in the Dredd style you’d expect and Jay Fotos’ colours back the art up very nicely – both do a great job with the Martians.

In regards to Al Ewing’s writing, I initially struggled with the stereotypes exhibited in the opening scene with the Mega-Mafia meeting – it was all a little bit obvious to me. Then I reality checked myself: Dredd’s 2000AD origins were always based on larger than life stories with some pretty obvious humour, so what the hell could I expect Al Ewing to do any differently given the Martians are thrown in the mix. The Martians themselves don’t get a huge role in the opening issue but I have no doubt that changes.

Overall, I didn’t have any laugh out loud moments but there’s plenty of cheese in the story to keep you amused – the highlight for me was the name of a particular alley Dredd left two perps in for pickup. Mars Attacks Judge Dredd is a nice ride and I’m looking forward to seeing the full story play out.

And as an aside: I am so buying Greg Staples’ cover art  (pictured) for issue #1 as a poster if it becomes available!

Mini-Reviews: Daredevil, Judge Dredd and Todd The Ugliest Kid

daredevilendofdaysHaving completed reading all my monthly pull list, here’s some brief thoughts on each:

Daredevil End of Days #6: Dreading this series ending in two issues. Is there one good reason you haven’t bought this yet?

Daredevil #24: The current story arc could have lost its way but it’s done far from that and the Foggy health scare storyline is as good as anything else going on in the book.

Todd The Ugliest Kid On Earth #3: Still delivering great art, interesting story and a couple of legit belly laughs an issue – doesn’t get much better than that.

Judge Dredd: Year One #1: New mini-series looking at stories from Dredd’s first year as a Judge. Enjoyable, and love IDW’s print quality on these.

Hoax Hunters #8: Frustrating me more and more as time goes on. It meanders, the story remains hard to pick up each month. Some silly sense of loyalty will keep me going to issue 10 but I’m done after that.