We’re here… 2014 is upon us, and we bravely look forward to the year and what offerings await comic, gaming, and movie aficionados and fans alike. It’s no surprise that there are so many things coming down the pipe, especially with the PS3 and XBOX 360 ready to pass the torch to the PS4 and XBOX One. Marvel continues with its new collection of OGN‘s, and two blockbuster films in Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Guardians of the Galaxy (Yes, and X-Men: Days of Future Past even though FOX still owns the rights, not Marvel Studios). And, a small publisher continues to pave the way and tell fantastic stories. 2014 has a slew of Valiant Comics trade paperbacks coming out, as they expect to flesh out another big year in the Valiant Universe.
So without further ado, in no particular order, here is a short list of some things we here at Comichype feel you need to have your fingers on the pulse for:
1. Marvel Original Graphic Novels: Marvel launched this idea in 2013, with Warren Ellis and Mike McKone teaming up to do Avengers: Endless Wartime, an interesting take on the past, present, and future centering around Captain America, Thor and Iron Man. 2014 sees the release of Spider-Man: Family Business by the crack team of Mark Waid(Daredevil), James G. Robinson(All-New Invaders), and Gabriel Dell’Otto (Secret War). The original story will be fully painted with Dell’Otto’s amazing art work, and will involve the Kingpin and… Peter Parker’s sister? This damning revelation may ruffle the feathers of long time Spidey fans, but if you can stand Doc Ock taking over Peter’s body, this should be good stuff. The Kingpin is looking to be one of the main antagonists, and I put a lot of stock in both Waid and Robinson as storytellers, given his work on Daredevil, currently, and Robinson’s upcoming launch of the All-New Invaders, which leads us into Marvel’s next OGN, X-Men: No More Humans, by Mike Carey (Age of X, X-Men) and Salvador Larocca (Cable and X-Force, X-Men). To sum up the premise, humans, homo-sapiens, whatever you want to call them are gone… The conflict arises somewhere in between: can the X-Men solve the mystery of what happened to humanity? Or do some mutants actually want humanity back as it was before, fearing and hating them for their gifts? An intriguing premise on both of these stories shows Marvel wants to push the envelope with these Original Graphic Novels… and will do so even more as Marvel has recently announced the return of Jim Starlin, returning to a character and cosmic universe he helped build, with Thanos: The Infinity Revelation, another OGN, which will also be debuting sometime in the near future.
2. Valiant Comics’ 2014 Trade Paperback Offerings: It’s no secret we here at Comichype love just about everything Valiant puts out, and with Unity in full swing, it would be hard to ignore the bevy of trades the publisher is set to release, and while not a complete list, here are just a few to whet your appetite if you are building the oh so necessary trade library that includes this publishers rich character base: Bloodshot Volume 4: H.A.R.D. Corps features the return of the team from Harbinger Wars, off to rescue Bloodshot from Toyo Harada. Christos Gage and company are doing bang up work on this, just as writer Greg Pak is doing with Eternal Warrior Volume 1: Sword of the Wild. ComicHype’s own Chris raves about this book, and the stellar creative team makes Gilad Anni-Padda another exciting character, and brings swords, magic, and even the future to the Valiant U. For the darker side of Valiant, Shadowman Volume 3: Deadside Blues, a personal favorite of mine, shows the final stories by writer Justin Jordan, a great series of short stories by writers such as Jim Zub, and an awesome Halloween themed tale (check out our reviews on this stuff for more info). Fred Van Lente, Khari Evans and company continue the Valiant cavalcade of excellence with Archer and Armstrong Volume Four: Sect Civil War, as our heroes face off against the villainous Sect who is bent on taking over the world. Will the tongue in cheek duo be able to stop them? Van Lente has made this book a lot of fun, and a great bit of action comedy. Speaking of comedy, Quantum and Woody Volume 2: In Security, will be out in March, and as the brothers continue their less than stellar “superheroing”, writer James Asmus and Ming Doyle will surely make you laugh, cry, and cringe at their antics. And rounding out this stellar array of collections, will be Volume 1 of Unity: To Kill A King. Arguably, one of the biggest, coolest books of the year, Unity is expectation busting, well scribed action and enjoyment by Matt Kindt and Doug Braithwaite, and will be the monthly book to watch in 2014 as well. But for now, take stock, these Valiant trades are a must add to your bookshelf, with some exciting new entries, and great “pick up and read” points if you have not checked any of them out already. So, find out what you are missing in the New Year.
3. Moon Knight #1 (Writer: Warren Ellis Artist: Declan Shalvey): Flipping through the latest issue of Marvel Previews, Moon Knight gets a new lease on life, and is back in the limelight. Warren Ellis, Declan Shalvey, and Marvel NOW! return the vigilante to the streets of New York, cutting a swath through the strangest mysteries and crimes of the Big Apple. Ellis is sure to inject some wild, off kilter ideas into the relaunch of this book, and Declan Shalvey, whose done some incredible cover art and interior work on Venom, promise big things for the servant of Khonshu.
4. Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2(PlayStation 3/XBOX360): One of the last hurrahs it would seem on the current generation consoles, before the market is saturated by the PS4 and XBOX One, would have to be Lords of Shadow 2. A brand new direction for the Castlevania franchise, the first Lords of Shadow told the early history of the vampire hunting Belmont clan, and the fate of Gabriel Belmont, who became Dracula. The recently released Mirror of Fate HD for the PSN and XBOX Live tells the back story of the Belmont lineage, of Simon, Trevor, and Dracula’s son Alucard, and leaves gamers in a place to experience the next, and what is being billed as the final chapter of the Lords of Shadow saga.
After playing a demo of the second game, included in the Lords of Shadow Collection (available on each console, respectively) you can expect new forms of combat and blood-letting, including a life stealing blade, armor shattering gauntlets, a whip, and a feed command, where you can drink the blood of your opponent. Yes, you play as Count Dracula, who is seeking his lost power in his own castle, and he still must contend with the Brotherhood of Light, and the Belmont Clan who seeks his destruction. Expect huge bosses and platforming elements similar to God of War and Uncharted. How will the drama play out, and how will this re-imagining of the Castlevania time line end when it reaches its conclusion? February 25th is the day you will find out.
5. Infamous: Second Son (PlayStation 4): A new chapter in the definitely comic book inspired series of games, this title looks to be the first IP to really show off what new consoles can do, as most of the previous games on the PS4, aside from Killzone, have just been ports or visual up conversions from previous generation games. Taking place in Seattle Washington, a new hero/villain arises, Delsin Rowe, who is exposed and discovers he is a Conduit, able to harness powerful abilities. His quest will take him all over Seattle against the DUP, Department of Unified Protection, who have labeled Conduits as terrorists. Special Powers in the game will be smoke and neon light based, and a new aiming reticle has been included for improved firing on enemies. The choice to be good or bad in-game is also back. Here’s hoping as I said this game will really showcase the power of the new console, and maybe even utilize the PS4 touch pad for some aspect of the game. March 21 is the target release date for Infamous: Second Son.
6. Captain America: The Winter Soldier (April 4, 2014): Judging by the five minutes of footage I saw included with Thor: The Dark World, Captain America is sure to be the stand out Marvel film this year. With the added antagonist of the Winter Soldier, the beloved creation of Ed Brubaker, and the Falcon and Black Widow, AND Nick Fury, the epic scope of this film will leave fans clamoring for the Avengers sequel even more. It’s even got Robert Redford in it to bolster the star power. It will be most exciting to see the addressing of the death of Bucky Barnes and his return, and the drama that will unfold on-screen could be unmatched thus far for a comic film. I, for one am excited for this one, more so than any other comic-themed film coming this year.
An amateur poet, gamer, comic, film, animation, craft spirits, toy and memorabilia aficionado, Mike has been reading and collecting comics and playing games for the better part of his life. He enjoys critiquing and reviewing pop culture, as much as he enjoys classical literature, while towing the line between professionalism and hedonism. His attempts to correct the views on all things people consider childish and foolish bear fruit, even if it is one branch at a time, one person at a time.