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A Lump Of Coal from The Krampus

by  in CBR Exclusives Comment
A Lump Of Coal from The Krampus

WHAT IS THE BUY PILE?

Every week Hannibal Tabu (winner of the 2012 Top Cow Talent Hunt/blogger/novelist/poet/jackass on Twitter/head honcho of Komplicated) grabs a whole lotta comics. These periodicals are quickly sorted (how) into two piles — the “buy” pile (a small pile most weeks, comprised of planned purchases) and the “read” pile (often huge, often including comics that are really crappy but have some value to stay abreast of). Thursday afternoons you’ll be able to get his thoughts (and they’re just the opinions of one guy, so calm down, and here’s some common definitions used in the column) about all of that … which goes something like this …

THE BUY PILE FOR DECEMBER 23, 2015

Astro City #30

(Vertigo/DC Comics)

Losing a step this time, a young member of an alien race encountered one of the Furst Family, a team of superheroes from “our” world, and it changed everything about his impression of his society. The problem with this issue is, it minimized an entire alien civilization to unidimensional stereotypes, and that was something of a let down. However, the craft of the issue was as solid as any other, and this longtime buy-on-sight series surely deserves an off issue or two.

Transformers More Than Meets The Eye #48

(IDW Publishing)

That’s weird. This issue is merely good, whereas most scripts are amazing. Here, as often, new and fascinating ideas are presented as a wholly new type of murder is invented in a Transformer nobody wants to be around. That’s fascinating. However, when the ship’s headshrinker Rung meets an old rival, the pointless parallels to human culture are — like “The Force Awakens” — old ideas remixed into a new shape. That’s less engaging by a big margin. It’s refreshing to see that the shocking events of last issue were not as permanent as they seemed (that guy is TOUGH) but the largely off-panel resolution of all those shenanigans again seemed like a questionable narrative choice. Great art, some interesting ideas, but the trappings were far below the standards of this series. Is this issue still better than every single honorable mention and “meh” title below? Heck yeah. This week, that has to be good enough.

Saga #32

(Image Comics)

While it was nice to see one long lost element of this series back the way it should be, this issue had maybe one thing happening as the pacing of this series has slowed to a crawl. The missing child is being chased down by her parents and their heist has some pep to it, but it’s not enough for a whole issue and — given the slippage from this title — this series slides back into the “read” pile until it knocks three more straight issues in a row worth writing home about.

WHAT’S THE PROGNOSIS?

… that’s kind of a lump of coal to start off the holidays …

THIS WEEK’S READ PILE

Honorable Mentions: Stuff worth noting, even if it’s not good enough to buy

“Princeless Make Yourself” #0 is gorgeously rendered and politically sound despite the fact that the only thing that happens is cleanliness. A personal vignette that some might enjoy, but not a traditional plot.

“G.I. JOE A Real American Hero” #222 had some interesting moments as both the anti-terrorist team and their adversaries at Cobra focused on opening up a big plan … in the next issue. There were some solid plot elements and good artwork but little characterization. If you’re a long time, dyed-in-the-wool fan and reader, this will be good for you, but perhaps not for the casual fan.

The “Meh” Pile Not good enough to praise, not bad enough to insult, not important enough to say much more than the title

“Justice League 3001” #7, “Star-Lord” #2, “Hellbreak” #9, “Venom Space Knight” #2, “Jupiter’s Circle Volume 2” #2, “Stringers” #5, “Justice League Of America” #6, “Voltron From The Ashes” #4, “Last Gang In Town” #1, “Doctor Who The Twelfth Doctor” #15, “Robin Son Of Batman” #7, “Chew” #53, “Sinestro” #18, “Bloodshot Reborn” #9, “Superman” #47, “Escape From New York” #13, “Teen Titans” #15, “Death-Defying Doctor Mirage Second Lives” #1, “Titans Hunt” #3, “Transformers Vs G.I. JOE” #10, “Amazing Spider-Man” #5, “Rai” #12, “Angela Queen Of Hel” #3, “Buffy The Vampire Slayer Season 10” #22, “Aquaman” #47, “Transformers Holiday Special 2015, “Astonishing Ant-Man” #3, “Batman And Robin Eternal” #12, “Captain America Sam Wilson” #4, “Wild’s End The Enemy Within” #4, “Daredevil” #2, “Cyborg” #6, “Darth Vader” #14, “Spider-Woman” #2, “Fight Club 2” #8, “Dark Knight III The Master Race” #2, “Patsy Walker A.K.A. Hellcat” #1, “Sidekick” #12, “Deathstroke” #13, “New Avengers” #4, “Rocketeer At War” #1, “Moon Girl And Devil Dinosaur” #2, “He-Man The Eternity War” #13, “Figment 2” #4, “Nameless” #6, “Extraordinary X-Men” #4, “Jacked” #2, “Deadpool” #4,

No, just … no … These comics? Not so much …

Nothing really bad happened …

SO, HOW BAD WAS IT?

… well, at least nothing awful happened …

WINNERS AND LOSERS

Even though there were no terrible books this week, Buy Pile mainstays failed to live up to their own standards, so that makes for a rough week of comics …

THE BUSINESS

The writer of this column was a guest on two podcasts in the last week, including the season finale of Fanboy Comics and a guest spotlight on KFI 640 AM, and there will be another one next week. Happy Kwanzaa.

The writer of this column isn’t just a jerk who spews his opinions — he writes stuff too. A lot. Like what? You can get “The Crown: Ascension” and “Faraway,” five bucks a piece, or spend a few more dollars and get “New Money” #1 from Canon Comics, the rambunctious tale of four multimillionaires running wild in Los Angeles, a story in “Watson and Holmes Volume 2” co-plotted by “2 Guns” creator Steven Grant, two books from Stranger Comics — “Waso: Will To Power” and the sequel “Waso: Gathering Wind” (the tale of a young man who had leadership thrust upon him after a tragedy), or “Fathom Sourcebook” #1 and “Soulfire Sourcebook” #1, the official guide to the Aspen Comics franchises. Too rich for your blood? Download the free PDF of “Cruel Summer: The Visual Mixtape.” Love these reviews? It’d be great if you picked up a copy. Hate these reviews? Find out what this guy thinks is so freakin’ great. There’s free sample chapters too, and all proceeds to towards the care and maintenance of his kids … oh, and to buy comic books, of course. There’s also a bunch of great stuff — fantasy, superhero stuff, magical realism and more — available from this writer on Amazon. What are you waiting for? Go buy a freakin’ book already!

Got a comic you think should be reviewed in The Buy Pile? If we get a PDF of a fairly normal length comic (i.e. “less than 64 pages”) by no later than 24 hours before the actual issue arrives in stores (and sorry, we can only review comics people can go to stores and buy), we guarantee the work will get reviewed, if remembered. Physical comics? Geddouttahere. Too much drama to store with diminishing resources. If you send it in more than two days before comics come out, the possibility of it being forgotten increases exponentially. Oh, you should use the contact form as the CBR email address hasn’t been regularly checked since George W. Bush was in office. Sorry!

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the buy pile
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