Recommendations for the New Comic Reader – Indie (2017, Q1)

Recommendations for the New Comic Reader is exactly what it sounds like — the posts where I recommend current ongoing comics to new readers, mostly based on the current or most recent arc. I focus heavily on the series being new reader friendly, so if the latest masterpiece of Grant Morrison’s isn’t here, you know why. I’m mainly concerned with what I myself am reading, but will occasionally recommend something people have told me or I’ve heard is good, if I feel it bits (these recommendations will be clearly labeled).

I actually found it somewhat difficult to find any indie stuff I’d recommend to new readers. Sure, there’s stuff that’s great, but a lot of it requires that you’ve been following the series for a while. Also, a lot of comics are on breaks, though I’m recommending them anyway (this practice is actually part of why I love Image). But beyond that, indie stuff generally needs to be of a higher calibre to grab me, as I’ve got no loyalty to anything but the creators. But there were some surprises here and there, so join me after the break for my indie comic recommendations for new readers for Q1 of 2017.
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Batwoman: Rebirth #1 Review

Written by Margurite Bennett and James Tynion IV
Art by Steve Epting
Colours by Jeromy Cox
Published by DC Comics
Cover price: $2.99 USD

I don’t think  its wrong to say that Batwoman has stumbled a bit over the last few years. Her solo stories in Detective Comics and Batwoman started strong, but then J. H. Williams III wasn’t allowed to marry Kate and Maggie Sawyer and rage quit the series, and DC rushed to find a replacement lest they take their time and screw up their precious numbering, and the result was Marc Andreyko’s thoroughly disliked run. After petering out, Batwoman would be banished to comic book limbo, only making occasional guest appearances in larger Bat-stories like the two Eternal series, and even then she barely did anything. But then she got tied closer to the Bat-family in James Tynion IV’s mostly good Detective Comics run, and they decided to launch another Batwoman ongoing under up-and-coming writer Marguerite Bennett (AnimosityBombshells). Since a lot of people probably aren’t familiar with Batwoman’s history — since she was barely affected by the 2011 reboot — this Rebirth one-shot could have been used to catch new readers up on her backstory, while also setting up new stories. It only does the latter well. Continue reading “Batwoman: Rebirth #1 Review”

Top 10 Comics of 2016

Everyone loves reading top 5/10 lists, right? Well, it’s a guilty pleasure, but it’s also nice to get others’ opinions and have your own validated. And since I already do annual video game lists, I figured it’d only be right to do one for comics as well. Also, this may be because I feel bad about not praising Grayson #12 enough last year, even though it was an absolutely amazing issue and I’ve praised it to anyone who would listen. But yeah, that’s what this is going to be: ranking the top 10 series of the year, with particular focus on a specific issue if it’s a standout (the covers don’t mean that particular issue was good; I just like certain covers or don’t want to reuse covers I’ve used before). My general rule is that the series has to have released at least one issue this year. Anyway, these are my top 10 arbitrarily ranked comic books of 2016.

Oh, and just assume all these series have amazing art unless I say otherwise.

Warning: Mild Spoilers.

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Recommendations for the New Comic Reader – Indie Comics (2016, Q3)

Here are my recommendations for readers from companies that basically aren’t Marvel or DC. I know it’s kind of harsh to only have one category, but if I didn’t do this, I’d have one comic for Aftershock, tons for Image, etc. So here’s my recommendations for indie comics, using the same rules as my DC recommendations: Generally avoiding thicker reads, comics with very little hand holding and series over a certain issue count. Don’t worry, I’m not recommending The Black Monday Murders if you’re new! Also, no Saga, because I feel you need to read that series from the beginning to fully appreciate it.

Cover

Animosity
Published by Aftershock
Currently on issue 2

I you like animals, Animosity is the comic for you. Set in a world where animals are suddenly anthropomorphic and can speak, Animosity is a surprisingly interesting. Aside from the obvious animal abuse issues that arise, there is also controversy over the very act of eating meat and the idea that humanity should have dominion over animals. Not only that, but there’s exploration of how animals acted before the unexplained event. Without spoiling anything, it’s a very good read. Marguerite Bennett writes really good drama without any of it feeling forced. Her relationships feel grounded real, despite such a fantastical event occurring.

Rafael de Latorre’s art is beautiful to look at. He can actually draw different face shapes, making him better than lots of comic book artists working for the Big Two. But De Latorre honestly is very good at drawing faces, and his facial expressions clearly convey emotions while still being subtle. At least when things call for it, because he can still have fun during intense scenes. De Latorre’s obviously really good at drawing animals, otherwise he’d be a poor fit for this series. The softer colours help give the world a more vibrant feel, but that doesn’t meant the series is averse to shadows when the need arises. Animosity is easily one of the best looking comics being published.

My one sticking point is that the world Bennett creates is genuinely interesting, and is ripe for exploration. There are a number of issues that are briefly mentioned and are really interesting, at least enough for an arc each, but so far many have just been glossed over in favour of a story focused on Sandor, a house dog. Not that the story isn’t good, because it is, I’d just like Bennett to do more with the interesting world she’s built.

Animosity has a great premise which leads to a great world. While Bennett doesn’t always fully explore all the elements of this world, the main story of a Sandor’s is worth the trade-off, at least for now. Continue reading “Recommendations for the New Comic Reader – Indie Comics (2016, Q3)”

Animosity (2016) #1 Review

Writer: Marguerite Bennett
Artist: Rafael De Latorre
Colourist: Rob Schwager

Marguerite Bennett is one of those writers that I know has many projects going for them, most of which I haven’t touched. I know she’s an up-and-comer, and that she wrote Angela: Asgard’s Assassin which I really wasn’t a fan of, and Bombshells, which just isn’t my thing. But it’s due to her apparent greatness as a writer that I picked up Animosity (that and it was featured on Comic Shop News’ cover and looked pretty), and I’m glad to say I really enjoyed it! Continue reading “Animosity (2016) #1 Review”