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Big Battles, Big Laughs, Big Trouble

by  in CBR Exclusives Comment
Big Battles, Big Laughs, Big Trouble

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 JUNE 22, 2016

Power Man And Iron Fist #5

(Marvel Comics)

In an age of camera phones and shock jocks, this funny, effective issue takes a “Rashomon” approach to a battle between the titular heroes and the super powered ne’er-do-well Manslaughter Marsdale that has so many wonderful, small moments (“looks like the love child of Prince and Mr. T,” “losin’ his mind like Kanye at an awards show”) while never losing the core element: the friendship and chemistry between the two leads, the flawless enthusiasm of Danny Rand and the gruff but lovable bluster of Luke Cage. This is yet another virtually perfect issue by David F. Walker, Flaviano, John Rauch and Clayton Cowles.

Transformers More Than Meets The Eye #54

(IDW Publishing)

The character work done with Megatron, a being caught in a struggle between the ideals he aspires to and the reality of his own rage, is amazing here. He had a little bit of a James Rhodes moment that inspired him towards one of the tensest moments this series has ever seen, but it’s the dialogue (especially with the medic Ratchet) that really sold it. Add to that a very crafty battle and some time to shine for many other cast members and this issue is another gem in the crown of, bar none, the best science fiction comic book on the stands. Kudos to James Roberts, Alex Milne, Joana LaFuente, Tom B. Long and Christa Meisner.

Deadpool V Gambit #1

(Marvel Comics)

Jump from the Read Pile.

This issue is a revelation, a non-stop action ride with laughs and character development and one of the craftiest plots in recent memory. Deadpool’s favorite coffee spot gets written up in “Time Out New York,” so he ends up stuck in a line like that Soup Nazi episode. Gambit’s in line ahead of them and they can’t remember if they are friends or enemies until they reminisce over their last encounter, a zany romp including Spider-Man and Daredevil fresh off a day of antiquing (really). There’s so much to like here, and the work of Ben Acker, Ben Blacker, Danilo Beyruth, Cris Peter and Joe Sabino could easily have become a michegas but the visual storytelling was deft, the script was razor sharp and the conclusion elegant. Fun, fun stuff.

WHAT’S THE PROGNOSIS?

Enormously entertaining work this week. A big “yes” like that wrestler guy would say.

THIS WEEK’S READ PILE

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

“Civil War 2: Choosing Sides” #1 had the seeds of two good comic books and the kernel of one all right one. Declan Shalvey delivered a rock solid action comic with the bastard Nick Fury (i.e. “the Black one”) that borrowed some cinematic elements but stepped them up. The middle story, showing Night Thrasher’s return to the Marvel Universe, was the best, showcasing a self-made hero that’s growing up and able to do almost anything. The Damage Control coda was the weakest, trying to do too much despite having some funny moments (“… paved roads …”). If either of the first two stories cannibalized the space of the last and had more room, this would have made it home.

“Nighthawk” #2 was extremely close to the mark with a script that would have worked well on a cable or Netflix procedural. The titular vigilante would have to click “It’s Complicated” on a relationship status with the Chicago Police Department as he simultaneously watches a corrupt cop get grilled by the system and helps a less-than-talented detective address a serial killer’s rampage. Political and intense with rock solid visual storytelling and the wonder that is Tilda Johnson, the solitary reason that this issue didn’t make the jump was the Kirkman-esque nature of its plot, telling a series of plot points that doesn’t resolve into an actual narrative (see: most issues of “Invincible”). Still, interesting stuff that will likely read well collected.

Imagine if the Joker’s ex got mashed up with “Pacific Rim.” “Harley Quinn” #29 goes there with an amazing scene involving a train (creative) and a cache of missiles in a shockingly surprising location. Ridiculous? Implausible? Harley starts there. For fans of the fantastic and whimsical (or, say, the current “Deadpool”), this might be up your alley.

If the current crossover is trying to make “Minority Report” arguments, “Ms. Marvel” #8 tries — valiantly, but ultimately fruitlessly — to toss in the spectre of profiling as well. “Predictive justice” takes a spin in Jersey City with three fairly forgettable Mark Madsens added to Kamala Khan’s roster, a Canadian ninja (he’s not even polite!) and “Big M” becoming a thing. Clumsy concepts wielded as well as they could be.

“James Bond” #7 had an intriguing start, great artwork and great character work. Unfortunately, its ending was as abrupt as slamming on your brakes in the fast lane. This may be a graphic novel, not a monthly periodical.

“Gwenpool” #3 had a wonderfully meta moment with Dr. Strange and made Batroc re-examine his life, but was otherwise “meh.”

“Archie” #9 has some very wholesome culture clash jokes (“You brought this into my home?”) and a good showing of how Veronica has a hard time turning down the Paris Hilton to hang out with mere mortals. A harmless, well-written modern take on the classic ideas that doesn’t thrill but doesn’t detract either.

“Doctor Strange” #9 had some great moments but dragged on a little longer than it needed to, and when it needed oomph it substituted sentiment. Not bad, but not as good as it needs to be.

There’s one outstandingly effective sequence in “Scarlet Witch” #7 where a relatively new character breaks down the nature of magic in a very creative way. Had that idea been the centerpiece of an Image book, it’d be a blockbuster. Here, with Wanda Maximoff barely a player in her own book, it’s just cute as the rest of the book just meandered amiably without really connecting. Let’s see more of that Alice, though!

The “Meh” Pile Not good enough to praise, not bad enough to insult,
“Thief Of Thieves” #32, “Rocket Raccoon And Groot” #6, “Action Comics” #958, “Heartthrob” #3, “Cyborg” #12, “Dept. H” #3, “Blacklist” #10, “Deathstroke” #19, “Autumnlands” #11, “Detective Comics” #935, “Puss In Boots” #3, “Flash” #1, “Snowfall” #5, “Divinity 2” #3, “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Bebop And Rocksteady Destroy Everything” #4, “Justice League” #52, “Rai” #14, “Robin Son Of Batman” #13, “She Wolf” #1, “Lucas Stand” #1, “Suicide Squad Most Wanted Deadshot And Katana” #6, “Totally Awesome Hulk” #7, “Rumble” #11, “Teen Titans” #21, “Ultimates” #8, “X-Files” #3, “ID,” “Wonder Woman” #1, “Tomb Raider 2” #5, “Captain America Sam Wilson” #10, “Drifter” #12, “Carnage” #9, “Princeless The Raven Pirate Princess” #9, “Cry Havoc” #6, “Uncanny Avengers” #10, “Godzilla Oblivion” #4, “Aquaman” #1, “Black Road” #3, “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers” #4, “Back To The Future” #9, “Moon Girl And Devil Dinosaur” #8, “Super Human Resources” #1, “Buffy The Vampire Slayer Season 10” #28, “Web Warriors” #8 “B***h Planet” #8, “Action Man” #1, “Red Sonja Volume 3” #6, “Drax” #8, “Aloha Hawaiian Dick” #3, “Mighty Thor” #8.

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

Nothing that got read was actually bad … so yay!

SO, HOW BAD WAS IT?

Cue up that Daniel Bryan again.

WINNERS AND LOSERS

A fantastic week for comics and a fantastic week to be a fan.

THE BUSINESS

Did you see the awesome interview World of Black Heroes did on the writer of this column?

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, “Soulfire Sourcebook” #1 and “Executive Assistant Iris Sourcebook” #1, the official guides to those Aspen Comics franchises. 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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