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 JANUARY 27, 2016
Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #4
First of all, writer Ryan North has an outlandishly good grasp on the character of Dr. Doom, to the way he’d program a time machine (brilliant) to the outstanding dialogue dripping with bombasticity. Dr. Doom makes this issue superbly engaging, but on top of that, the plucky heroine remains super entertaining. Dr. Doom is in the 1960s and he’s up to … well, all the stuff that Dr. Doom does, but with a lot more skills and a lot fewer people in the way. Unfortunately for him, Doreen and her squad of computer science majors are there … but they’ve finished less college than he has, so it’s an interesting fight. The artwork from Erica Henderson, Rico Renzi and Clayton Cowles may not be everybody’s cup of tea, but the visual storytelling is rock solid and the whole product is fun.
Omega Men #8
The titular team have a mission — to convince Kyle Rayner, a hero renowned the galaxy over, to become what most would call a “terrorist,” and then kill a lot of people. To do this they have — as noted in previous issues — employed a wide variety of psychological and even physiological tactics on him, all while continuing their own activities, activities which again could be characterized as “terrorist acts.” While doing so, they begin to uncover some very unpleasant things about the Citadel, the brutal regime which holds sway over the Vega System, and about themselves as well. Who is more monstrous, the monster or the monsters that made the monster in the first place? Tom King’s subversive, brutal script proves that Krypton was an accident that people would pay any price to avoid and the visuals from Barnaby Bagenda, Romulo Fajardo Jr. and Pat Brosseau show how high that cost is with frightening scale. This is not your father’s superhero comic, and that’s a good thing.
WHAT’S THE PROGNOSIS?
Two solid starts plus two sourcebooks this week (especially that “Executive Assistant Iris Sourcebook” #1? That’s a good start …
THIS WEEK’S READ PILE
Honorable Mentions: Stuff worth noting, even if it’s not good enough to buy
“Cyborg” #7 has some disturbing overtones issued from the mouth of a member of the US Senate and an overwhelming number of recaps masquerading as action. It is, however, a very good looking book with a solid emotional core as the titular character struggles with a variety of changes in his life and gets a somewhat bittersweet surprise. Not enough story meat nor a clear enough conclusion to the issue, but a long way from being bad.
The core story in “Transformers Sins Of The Wreckers” #3 has to do with addressing decisions made for the right reasons that turned out wrong. That’s interesting. Unfortunately, it gets lost in a lot of messiness regarding a psychological weapon and remnants of an extortion plot. Perhaps this will all connect better when it’s all collected, but here it misses by a hair.
“Grayson” #16 has a lot of fun as the titular spy has tons of fun with tropes and conventions of the genre, singing amusingly as a framing device for tons of punching and kicking. As a story, it doesn’t have much meat on its bones as the condition escalates only if you’re a very well informed fan (three letters popped up that were interesting based on a previous Wildstorm series) but the issue itself needed a little more going on than singing and pugilism.
“Spider-Woman” #3 had some fairly enjoyable moments as Jessica is stuck in a hospital in space trying to hatch an elaborate and ultimately ridiculous scheme. The cavalry is stuck outside, there’s a huge crowd of nervous pregnant extraterrestrials desperate to get home. It was cute but given the Keystone Capers aspect of the Skrull antagonists, the stakes don’t seem very high. Likely a hoot when it’s all collected.
“Cry Havoc” #1 is an interesting little genre blender as it mixes the gritty brutality of combat in Afghanistan with the modern noir of werewolves, flashing back and forward in time to examine the arguable protagonist being “infected” and struggling with something inside her she barely understands. This comic is well crafted and smart and if you’re into horror and werewolves you’ll like it just fine.
“Old Man Logan” #1 has an interesting premise and a clear cut mandate, which makes good sense and has a very clear r’aison d’etre as the sins of future past are not yet committed, which gives an angry and elderly mutant a chance to make a wholly different mess of things. The premise is solid but the execution lacks oomph, so we’ll have to wait and see if the idea has enough room to really be something or is just a fleeting idea that might have been interesting.
“Faith” #1 had a lot of the things that made the character popular — fanservice and geeking out over things that the fans would love. Unlike some other popular works, it doesn’t see the american otaku as a thing to be mocked but people to be inspired by. However, while it does a great job establishing a status quo (complete with a Buzzfeed-styled job for the protagonist) it does little to establish the arguable force Faith will face and has a somewhat inconclusive plot. For such an engaging character, let’s hope she gets better scripts to showcase her in the future.
The “Meh” Pile Not good enough to praise, not bad enough to insult, not important enough to say much more than the title
“Daredevil” #3, “Justice League Of America” #7, “Venom Space Knight” #3, “Hip Hop Family Tree” #6, “Deathstroke” #14, “Jem And The Holograms” #11, “He-Man The Eternity War” #14, “All-New All-Different Avengers” #4, “Teen Titans” #16, “Chew” #54, “Justice League 3001” #8, “Bloodshot Reborn” #10, “All-New Inhumans” #3, “Suicide Squad Most Wanted Deadshot And Katana” #1, “Extraordinary X-Men” #6, “Jupiter’s Circle Volume 2” #3, “Kanan” #10, “Grimm Fairy Tales Presents Steampunk Dream” #1, “Superman” #48, “Marvel Universe Ultimate Spider-Man Spider-Verse” #3, “Venus” #2, “Marvel’s Captain America Civil War Prelude” #4, “Black Canary” #7, “Moon Girl And Devil Dinosaur” #3, “Ghostbusters International” #1, “Batman And Robin Eternal” #17, “East Of West” #24, “Carnage” #4, “Aquaman” #48, “Howling Commandos Of S.H.I.E.L.D.” #4, “Superman Lois And Clark” #4, “Angela Queen Of Hel” #4.
No, just … no … These comics? Not so much …
No whammies? Cool!
SO, HOW BAD WAS IT?
That wasn’t so difficult, was it?
WINNERS AND LOSERS
Given the good haul of purchases and nothing being awful, that means this week is a winner.
This week, a new book from this columnist was published by Aspen Comics — go grab “Executive Assistant Iris Sourcebook” #1, available in stores and digitally now!
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!