Comics: What to Read 13/02/14

Take a look at what new comic series and jumping on points you should be picking up!

While we are already reviewing graphic novels and collected editions elsewhere, there are a lot of new series and jumping-on points being launched lately, so I thought I’d share my thoughts on the issues I’ve picked up. This is by no means a comprehensive list of new comics launching/new jumping-on points, but we think some people may find these quick sum-ups useful.


Black Widow

What it’s about: Marvel’s premier Russian spy-turned-Avenger breaks away from the group for a little me time. It just so happens Black Widow’s me time involves trying to atone for her violent past as a KGB agent, using more violence and espionage.

Why you should read it: Black Widow is an interesting character that doesn’t shy away from violence. In fact, it’s a part of her very soul at this point. But her stories of redemption through violence are like a TV show, with a new job each ‘episode’. So far there isn’t much of a story tying it all together, but that just makes reading the individual issues easier.

Verdict (based on issues 1 and 2): 7/10 – each issue is a self-contained story which adds a little more to Black Widow’s character and world. There’s also plenty of spying and fights scenes, both with guns and unarmed, though the lack of an overarching plot (so far) makes it into exactly what BW is doing: a series of jobs, disconnected from one another.


Night of the Living Deadpool

What it’s about: Deadpool vs zombies! Deadpool wakes up after a food coma and the world has been overtaken by some very creepy zombies. To make matters worse: Deadpool is the only superhero left alive.

Why you should read it: It’s Deadpool vs zombies! If you’ve enjoyed any Deadpool in the past, or just thought it’d be fun to see how he handled himself in a zombie apocalypse, this is a book for you.

Verdict (based on issues 1 and 2): 7/10 – an interesting premise being pulled off well. Deadpool fighting zombies seems like a match made in heaven, but the comic skews more toward The Walking Dead level of character interaction over out-and-out violence.


Serenity: Leaves on the Wind

What it’s about: A canonical sequel to the film! The project fans have clamoured for since 2005 is here and picks up the story eight months after Malcolm Reynolds transmitted the origin of the Reavers and fate of the planet Miranda to the ‘Verse. Of course, not everyone is happy about that information getting out…

Why you should read it: It’s the sequel to Serenity! This may well be the closest we get to a full-fledged sequel, and it does everything about the ‘Verse - from the characters dialogue to the crazy situations - perfectly. Plus, if it sells well enough, maybe they’ll produce an on-going Serenity series.

Verdict (based on issue 1): 9/10 – this is a great start to the limited series sequel and perfectly captures everything fans love about this universe.


Empire of the Dead: Act One

What it’s about: A zombie apocalypse engulfed the world years ago, but humans have once again carved out something of a normal life for themselves; but while they must fight zombies, there is another undead being coming for them too…

Why you should read it: George A. Romero, the godfather of zombies himself, is writing the series. It has all the social commentary and character-driven story you’ve come to expect from Romero’s work, along with the violence and gore.

Verdict (based on issue 1): 8/10 – off to a good start and instantly takes departures from what Romero has done before. This is also a story that couldn’t be done properly on film, making comics the perfect place for it.


Wolverine: Origin II

What it’s about: A further exploration of Wolverine’s history, set a few years after the end of Origin.

Why you should read it: it’s an untold chapter of Wolverine’s life and looks to be setting up how the rivalry between Wolverine and Sabretooth started, a proper explanation of which has been a long time coming.

Verdict (based on issues 1 and 2): 7/10 – the first issue sets up that Wolverine is now more beast than man, while the second sets up things for the future of the limited series. Teases in the second issue suggest we may be in for a very interesting read.


All-New X-Men

What it’s about: The original X-Men – Cyclops, Jean Grey, Beast (pre-blue fur!), Angel and Iceman - have been brought to the present to convince the present versions of themselves to stop before committing acts that will forever change how the public view mutants; things that will have big impacts on the Marvel Universe.

Why you should read it: Though the time-displaced mutant’s storyline may seem complicated, it’s actually surprisingly well pulled off with little confusion caused. The character interactions are all very well written, some being genuinely funny, and topped off with a great art style which perfectly depicts the looks of horror/anger/confusion on the X-Men’s faces.

Verdict (based on jumping on at issue #22.NOW): 9/10 – I picked up this issue as it’s described by Marvel as a designated “jumping on” point for the All-New X-Men comics, and I found it to be a brilliant comic which didn’t leave me confused as to the story at all. With the smaller cast it allows more personal character interaction and a focused story that doesn’t move too fast for new readers. I wholly recommend this issue to those looking to get into one of the X-Men comics.


Dead Body Road

What it’s about: one man’s policewoman wife is killed when a robbery goes wrong. He’s now on a blood-soaked path of revenge against everyone involved.

Why you should read it: It’s very Punisher-esque in its set up and delivery, but keeps things fresh with interesting characters and story twists.

Verdict (based on issues 1 and 2): 6/10 – a decent start, but so far it’s a very by-the-numbers revenge story. I’m hoping things take a turn for the more complicated in subsequent issues to make up for the simple premise.


Ash and the Army of Darkness

What it’s about: Set up as a direct continuation from Army of Darkness, Ash finds himself back in 1300’s England and things are not how he left them.

Why you should read it: it’s very well written, and Ash is character perfect: everything he says you could imagine Bruce Campbell saying with his classic slapstick tone. It’s an interesting story which picks up exactly where the film left off (literally, as in the first pages a recounting of the last scene of AoD). Plus, it actually makes sense for Ash to be back in 1300’s England, which was one of my fears for the series before reading it.

Verdict (based on issues 1 – 3): 8/10 – an interesting story, character perfect Ash and logical (for Evil Dead standards) reasons for what is happening, including getting Ash back to 1300’s England, make this a compelling book for Evil Dead/Army of Darkness fans.


DREDD: Underbelly

What it’s about: A sequel to the movie DREDD, set one year later, and follows Dredd and Anderson on a hunt for an explanation for a mutant mass-grave discovered within Mega-City One.

Why you should read it: It’s a sequel to a criminally under-rated movie and keeps the tone and characterisation of the film superbly. (It doesn’t hurt that by buying this you would be showing interest in further adventures for Dredd on the big screen. Just sayin’.)

Verdict (one-shot): 7/10 – the characters are just as you’d expect from the film and the expansion of the world feels organic. A few things feel a little forced, and it suffers from one of the strengths of the film: it’s just another day in the life of Dredd.


Terminator: Salvation: The Final Battle

What it’s about: A continuation of Terminator: Salvation set in the year 2027. As the final battle with Skynet approaches, John Connor must also make sure to set into motion the chain of events that brought him to that point. There are also other story threads such as Dr. Kogan’s work on time travel and Terminators, as well as a time travel storyline depicting a human trying to get to a serial killer before a group of Terminators do. There’s a lot going on in this book.

Why you should read it: It’s the final battle between humans and Skynet that we haven’t (yet) gotten on the big screen! The main story makes sense so far, though it does jump around a bit much. The Kogan story you’ve kind of just got to accept as is, though why she’s doing what she is (apart from staying alive) is left very open. The time travel plot doesn’t have a great deal happening in it yet, but it does include a psychopathic serial killer that stays in the house belonging to the family he murdered and still talks to, and I always enjoy those kind of characters.

Verdict (based on issues 1 and 2): 6/10 – while it’s a decent start, it’s so far just setting up each plotline. Once the series hits its stride, I imagine it’ll be a great read and play out like an actual Terminator sequel. All at once might be the best way to read this one.

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