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 MAY 10, 2017
Deadpool #30 (Marvel Comics)
Jump from the Read Pile. In the best possible way, this issue was wholly ridiculous. Deadpool has a problem: How does he kill someone who is actually harder to murder than himself? This leads him to take what could well be his very first vacation, killing all new types of sentients in space and being a misogynistic, violent lunatic in completely new environments. This very funny script by Gerry Duggan has a complete, super entertaining plot encapsulated in its pages and the whimsical art presented by Mike Hawthorne, Terry Pallot, Jordie Bellaire and Joe Sabino is enjoyable from the first page to the last. Maybe not as hoot-filled as the old Joe Kelly days, but a fun trip the whole way through.
Transformers Lost Light #5 (IDW Publishing)
Wow. From a character standpoint, this issue is a triumph. It’s all fireworks and upheavals for players as they realize and discover and are horrified by events and circumstances around them. The funniest thing is that the awe-inspiring character work is the second best thing about this issue, which uses a long-joked about detail to tie together the larger plot, create stakes worth worrying about and in general makes the narrative string together like DNA. James Roberts is a monster for making a script this good, and the visuals by Jack Lawrence, Joana LaFuente and Tom B. Long make every moment visceral and emotive. This title is running full speed, and every page is worth turning. Wow.
Godshaper #2 (Boom! Studios)
Jump from the Read Pile. This is a tale well crafted, expanding the world of personalized deities and all-too-human mortals. This issue does great character work, pushes the plot forward with very clever moments, has effective visuals and makes this fantasy world realistic in its dialogue and character interactions. Kudos go to Simon Spurrier and Jonas Goonface for a very subtle, nuanced work.
WHAT’S THE PROGNOSIS?
That’s a pretty entertaining set of books to start things off.
THIS WEEK’S READ PILE
Honorable Mentions: Stuff worth noting, even if it’s not good enough to buy
“America” #3 drops drastically in quality with a tedious cliche taking up way too much panel time and the plot driving around like Waze is trying to take you on the scenic route. Let’s hope this can pick up the pace next month.
“MediSin” #1 has an absolutely fascinating concept. An unknown and unseen super villain blackmails a group of doctors into staffing a mobile trauma hospital servicing the bad guy community. Already interesting, right? Toss in some “Grey’s Anatomy” styled interpersonal drama between the doctors (the early seasons, before the bomb and the plane crash), a super-powered protagonist (something like Amadeus Cho’s pre-Hulk intellect, or Destiny from “Genius”) with a history connected to the extrahumans and it gets more interesting. What went wrong? For all of these interesting ideas, the first issue isn’t a story, it’s a set up. Hopefully subsequent issues can fulfill this potential.
“Star Wars The Screaming Citadel” #1 is intriguing as it gets lots of character things just right — the offhanded banter between Triple Zero and BT, the scoundrel nature of the soon-to-be-immortalized-in-plastic Doctor Aphra, the earnestness of the son of Skywalker, the nonchalance of Han Solo and the frustration of Princess Leia. Unfortunately, its final twist was undone by less-than-clear storytelling and its plot skated around stereotypes and tropes instead of getting into the meat of supporting players. Perhaps this will work better when collected.
“Wonder Woman” #22 took a clever spin on how an antagonist would get something they wanted from a superhero, but its central conceit felt restrained in the tension it should have had between said antagonist and the titular heroine. If Lex and Superman spent that much time together, the quotes which could be taken multiple ways alone should be the stuff of legend. Not bad, cleverly conceived, but the execution could have stood up taller.
First, “Ms. Marvel” #18 has exactly zero pages of the actual title character in its pages. Brace yourself for that. Second, the entire issue takes place not in New Jersey, but in Wakanda. Third, it focuses completely on a supporting character who hasn’t been seen in many issues. None of these things are bad, and in its own way this is entertaining, especially as it gives a rare and self-contained look at the Golden City. This isn’t bad, but it seems kind of odd in terms of the series as a whole.
“Dragon Age Knight Errant” #1 had solid art and some intriguing character moments, but it fell short on its plot. This seems like a better long form story, but if you like books like “Niobe: She Is Life,” “Night’s Dominion” or the IDW “Dungeons & Dragons” titles, this will likely scratch the same itch.
In “Green Valley” #8, two friends clash over an age old time travel question: should you change things, if you could? While they wrestle with this conundrum, another member of their group embraces his own legend, all with outstanding action scenes. The pacing was a little uneven and the art a little too intimate when it needed scale and grandeur, but this surely was not a bad book by any stretch of the imagination.
“Avengers” #7 has many hilarious moments as Nadia Pym and Victor Von Doom make friends, but most of the team were largely standing around and the ultimate antagonist was less than compelling. Cute moments but the whole was not greater than the sum of its parts.
“Grand Passion” #5 ended with none of the brilliance nor intensity of its predecessors, grinding to a halt with treacly monologuing and a conformist finale. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great, which was the first adjective that comes to mind with the issues before this. Pity.
The “Meh” Pile Not good enough to praise, not bad enough to insult, they just kind of happened …
“Old Man Logan” #23, “Renato Jones Season Two” #1, “Superwoman” #10, “Ghostbusters Funko Universe” #1, “Kingpin” #4, “Red Hood And The Outlaws” #10, “Sons Of The Devil” #12, “Hal Jordan And The Green Lantern Corps” #20, “Silver Surfer” #11, “Fix” #9, “Black Panther And The Crew” #2, “Star Trek Green Lantern Volume 2 Stranger Worlds” #6, “X-Men Blue” #3, “Tank Girl World War Tank Girl” #2, “Amazing Spider-Man Renew Your Vows” #7, “Batgirl And The Birds Of Prey” #10, “Infinite Seven” #4, “Suicide Squad” #17, “The Unbelievable Gwenpool” #15, “Black Cloud” #2, “Detective Comics” #956, “Redline” #3, “Grass Kings” #3, “New Super-Man” #11, “Charmed” #3, “Future Quest” #12, “Red Sonja The Long Walk To Oblivion” #1, “Scooby Apocalypse” #13, “Amerikarate” #3, “Planet Of The Apes Green Lantern” #4, “Eternal Warrior Awakening” #1, “Rocket” #1, “Doctor Who The Eleventh Doctor Year Three” #5, “Guardians Of The Galaxy Mother Entropy” #2, “Regression” #1, “Action Comics” #979, “Secret Warriors” #1, “Pierce Brown’s Red Rising Sons Of Ares” #1, “Uncanny Avengers” #23, “Justice League Of America” #1, “Back To The Future” #19, “Amazing Spider-Man” #27, “Supergirl” #9, “All-New Wolverine” #20, “Throwaways” #8, “Weapon X” #3.
No, just … no … These comics? Not so much …
Clear sailing here.
SO, HOW BAD WAS IT?
To be free from awfulness, we should all be grateful.
WINNERS AND LOSERS
Two jumps, no truly bad comics: call this week what it is. A winner.
Did you get what you wanted for Free Comic Book Day? How about one more, on the house! Enjoy “Here Comes Justice” — more than 60 pages of goodness — for free from the Operative Network. You’re welcome.
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 “Project Wildfire: Enter Project Torrent” (a collected superhero web comic), “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, “Executive Assistant Iris Sourcebook” #1 and “Aspen Universe Sourcebook,” 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!