Looking Back At February

Written By Jake Garner

February 2016 birthed many marvellous books from publishers across the board. We think it is fair to say that every month the comic book community is awarded a vast display of visual delights, but February proved to take it a little further still. Here are some of the ‘cream of the comic book crop’, so to speak. Let’s take a look at some of the month’s most elite books and remind ourselves why February was such a great month for us all, both here at ComiCommand and for you, wherever you may be (whether that be sat on a throne of gold or in the gutter, at least through illustrated stories we can perhaps find some common ground).

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Well, we are not sure if you feel the walls closing in, but we certainly are, and quite rapidly with March and May just round the corner. Turn you attention to DC’s ‘New 52’. That’s right folks, the end is, as we have said,  just around the corner. February has seen some of DC’s mightiest heroes and heroines hit the issue #48-49 mark. With a title that confirms that there will only be 52 issues to each hero series, we can expect the ‘New 52’ stuff to come to a, extremely very, unfortunate close. Though we are approaching the finish line, ready to break that tape with some reluctance, at least we can leave feeling a sense of satisfaction. As far as comic book revamps go, quite frankly, New 52 has been splendid. 2011 – 2016 is quite a run, a marathon in fact. Yeah, we hear you, well what about those insane marvel runs such as Spiderman. We get that, but we are talking about the more recent years here, not decades past. Sure, some of us may have been disappointed when DC decided to cancel all titles with the power of a flashbang grenade, named ‘Flashpoint’, but once the dizziness wore off, many became proud of their scars. Maybe a tad metaphorical, but you get the gist. The community warmed up to New 52, as some of our favourites like Aquaman, Katana and Flash were resurrected with finesse. The relaunch did in fact include a few other things of convenience, such as the simultaneous release of both digital and print at the same time. The official branding side of New 52 ended with the ‘Convergence’ story line, but the issues kept on rolling. You told us 52, so we want 52. What we can expect though is an 80 page one-shot in May that should wrap the whole thing up, but do DC have a neat little bow at the ready? Let’s wait and see. All in all, we thought it worth a mention, as it hadn’t really hit us yet that New 52 really was coming to a close. We already feel its presence dispersing, a kind of February blues if you will. Heroes and Heroines of the DC universe we salute you. Moving on…

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That’s right bit*#!s, the ‘Merc With a Mouth’ had a very special month. Why was that again…? Hmm, oh yeah, he featured in what was probably the best hero film since The Dark Knight, the first one, don’t get confused here. While comic book fans turned their noses up at people who would commonly snub comic books as they suddenly flocked to the cinema to go and see a film they heard was awesome, the comic book community admittedly also became part of that same flock. Though there was still a difference between us. We were aware of something more in comparison to the generic movie goer. Wade Wilson, alongside the fantastic film which made us feel like we wanted to be beaten up by Pool himself, had two very special books released in February. The Merc$ For Money was released in early February, and acted as an extension on the latest Deadpool series; a series which saw Wade’s crazy antics bounce off characters such as ‘Slapstick’ and ‘Madcap’. Deadpool 2016 is some seriously weird s#@t. Nonetheless, we love it. One book in particular stood out amongst the ComiCommand team though, Deadpool #7. This was a huge bumper issue that marked the Merc’s 25th anniversary. Happy birthday Wade, you loveable freak. It also gave us an insight into the lives of his new friends. If you want to see Pool get his revenge on someone who spoilt the end of a Harry Potter novel for him, then this is definitely one book you should try and find! F*#k yeah!

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There has been quite a few fantastic Marvel titles out this month, such as Powerman and Iron Fist #1, Silver Surfer #2 and Doctor Strange #5, just to name but a few. The one title every Marvel fan was waiting in anticipation for though was Avengers Standoff: Welcome to Pleasant Hill. As far as story lines go, this was truly outstanding. It is a brand new Avengers event that brings back to life a number of characters that haven’t had much page time in recent books. We are not talking about heroes here either, but villains instead. Even though this is a look back at some of the month’s best, we don’t want to reveal any spoilers for those that haven’t yet read the titles in question. All you need to know is something in the small town of Pleasant Hill is off, we mean really off. What issue #1 does is set the event up perfectly, leaving us wanting so much more beyond the initial ‘welcome’. Now we wait for Alpha and Omega, the next issues to follow. Opinion is exactly that, opinion, but if we had to seriously recommend one must read this month, Avengers Standoff: Welcome to Pleasant Hill is exactly that. Sorry Wade.

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Turning our attention towards Vertigo Comics, we were blessed and refreshed by a new independent series starting with Dark and Bloody #1. Let’s be honest here, the comic market is vast, and in many ways quite saturated. This is a shame and isn’t at the same time, but when one looks deep enough they can find a real diamond in the rough. Dark and Bloody #1 was one of these gems. The graphic content is visually stunning, and much like that of ‘Pleasant Hill’, sets up the story in a way in which the reader wants to participate further. Another series that has been on-going has seen issues 3 and 4 released in February; Jacked, a personal favourite at ComiCommand. This is the brilliant story of one downtrodden man and his magical pills that turn him into a beast. Again, thank you Vertigo for these two treats. This is a tribute, no, a thank you for making February a good month for us all.

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Saga, published by Image, has continued to be a fantastic series with issue #34 being released this week. We kind of paid homage to this within a post during the week, but thought it was worth a mention here too. For a comic that now outsells The Walking Dead, Saga has lived up to expectation throughout February with its wacky storyline and mystical imagery.

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We really could babble on for eons about all the great arcs and issues we saw in February, but you know what, there just isn’t enough time, and let’s face it, long posts get boring. Roll on March. Until we next meet, sleepy time zzz…

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