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 NOVEMBER 9, 2016
Brigands #1 (Danger Zone/Action Lab Entertainment) —
Jump from the Read Pile.
This is a good sword and sorcery story fit to take the stands next to a number of other solid fantasy titles. Here, a bad man is given a Suicide Squad-styled task to recover the impossible or die trying. He has a fast-talking lady killer along for the ride and a plan that keeps raising the stakes. The visual storytelling from Nick Barber, Jason Lewis and Kel Nutall deliver the charm of Ram V’s script effectively and this reads like a lived in world, where everyone has a back story. Great work from the publisher of the charming “Princeless.”
Power Man And Iron Fist #10 (Marvel Comics)
This issue was like a big reset button as Danny and Luke set themselves on a new mission, the streets of Harlem fall into the crosshairs of numerous nefarious ne’er-do-wells and the superhero community is trying to heal from an internecine struggle that technically hasn’t ended. That’s fun but also “fiddle faddle,” as the strength of the friendship between the two leads is the real draw, their back and forth in moments of excitement and calmness is fantastic. Writer David Walker is on an amazing run here, while the visuals from Sanford Greene, Lee Loughridge and Clayton Cowles show up on every page. Solid work.
Deathstroke #6 (DC Comics)
A dysfunctional family drama where everybody wants to kill everyone else, this issue doesn’t drive as forcefully as some others but engages with every character and ties things together from earlier issues. The gorgeous visual storytelling from Larry Hama, Carlo Pagulayan, Jason Paz, Jeremy Cox and Willie Schubert delivers Christopher Priest’s acerbic, sarcastic script with aplomb and deftness. Fun stuff.
WHAT’S THE PROGNOSIS?
Clever, intriguing, exciting work this week.
THIS WEEK’S READ PILE
Honorable Mentions: Stuff worth noting, even if it’s not good enough to buy
“Black” #2 has great action sequences and some combinations of super powers that are fresh and new. It could use a lot of help in clarifying character and connecting its narrative structure better.
“Mosaic” #2 was thrilling to follow as the newly-empowered Inhuman gets the hang of playing a less destructive Doro from “Wild Seed.” Fantastic art but the plot drove around like Tommy Vercetti listening to Fernando Martinez without a mission. The origin story is dragging on a little, but it’s not a bad ride getting wherever we are really going.
Where its first issue hit the gas and delivered in every way, “Green Valley” #2 stomped on the brakes and took things far too easy. A year after a tragedy, the broken Knights of Kedonia have one last chance at glory, but it takes them forever to be able to accept it. Maybe ten pages of story padded out, it wasn’t bad but after that dazzling debut, it whelmed.
“Captain America Steve Rogers” #7 is getting complicated. Triple crosses, plans within plans, using geopolitics for tactical and strategic goals while everybody has their own agenda. There’s a strange last page reveal that could only happen in the upside down of this series, and it’s kind of intriguing. The plot doesn’t have quite enough cohesion to go smoothly, but this series is getting better with every page. Let’s see how it does next month.
“Namesake” #1 had the beginnings of a decent futuristic fantasy with a fireman on a world intersecting with a magical domain for seven days. An inherited debt, old business based in anger and this was pretty good, except it left characterization at the door. Interesting premise, let’s see if it comes along.
“Red Hood And The Outlaws” #4 tapdances all over the moral slippery slope as the arguable team finds each other only to be stymied by the ideas of what they want. Artemis and Bizarro are window dressing as Jason Todd, former acolyte of the Bat, struggles with the idea of getting what he really wants. Not bad, and significantly more thematically complex than it seems, but a bit too monologue-y for its own good.
Pride goeth before high explosives and large caliber gun fire in “Solo” #2, where we get to see why the titular character is so good and also why he ended up in the dregs of guns for hired. Not bad but not sticking the landing.
“Fuse” #23 has a deft mystery plot set in space that’s relentless and gives one of the protagonists some long overdue characterization. The spectre of an antagonist is kind of fleshed out as remembrances from other characters. Not bad as a periodical, and it’s sure that the collected edition here will sparkle.
“Wrath Of The Eternal Warrior” #13 was very close to making it home as the characterization closely tied to a plot, driving forward effectively. If the antagonist wasn’t such an empty shirt, this would have done the trick.
“Gwenpool” #8 has a number of ridiculous but ultimately unimportant moments and a plot that falls in on itself to do next to nothing. Good looking book to accomplish so little.
“Violent Love” #1 was an engaging set up for a noirish tale, establishing one of two criminal leads for an adventurous and tragic fate. It was just a sliver of an actual story, establishing the female lead well enough but not doing much work on anyone else’s characterization. When this is collected, it will likely shine without the interruptions of periodical page counts.
“WWE Then Now Forever” #1 is a cinematic, almost Shakespearean take on a group of wrestlers and the challenges they face, in front of and behind the cameras. The antagonist here is thinly depicted (while admitting that fans know his pomposity means the second he steps up in his overly fitting suit) but the third act surprise is well established and solidly done. Better written than much of the actual performances, the one page character intros were fine as well. Not sure about the time traveling New Day back up, though. If this title continues to surprise, it could be something.
“Black Panther World Of Wakanda” #1 had great art and an effective story of two people finding each other in an extreme situation. The plot around them could use more editorial guidance and focus, but it was nice to see an area of the Marvel universe rarely shown.
“James Bond” #11 had riveting action scenes, steely resolve and fun artwork. Character? Not so much, but the plot hummed with the efficiency of an Aston Martin.
The “Meh” Pile Not good enough to praise, not bad enough to insult, they just kind of happened …
“Batgirl And The Birds Of Prey” #4, “Glitterbomb” #3, “Daredevil” #13, “New Super-Man” #5, “James Bond Hammerhead” #2, “Homies” #2, “Shield” #4, “Casanova Acedia” #7, “Uncanny Avengers” #16, “Miraculous” #6, “Wonder Woman” #10, “Jungle Fantasy Ivory” #4, “Scooby Apocalypse” #7, “Star Trek Boldly Go” #2, “Invincible Iron Man” #1, “Alters” #2, “Uncanny X-Men” #15, “Earth 2 Society” #18, “Resident Alien The Man With No Name” #3, “Betty And Veronica” #2, “Spider-Man Deadpool” #11, “Superwoman” #4, “Dirk Gently The Salmon Of Doubt” #2, “Amazing Spider-Man Renew Your Vows” #1, “Batman Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures” #1, “A&A The Adventures Of Archer And Armstrong” #9, “Deadpool Back In Black” #3, “Flash” #10, “Intertwined” #2, “Warhammer 40000 Will Of Iron” #2, “Detective Comics” #944, “Star Wars Poe Dameron” #8, “Back To The Future” #14, “Marvel Universe Guardians Of The Galaxy” #14, “Forevers” #2, “Hal Jordan And The Green Lantern Corps” #8, “Action Comics” #967, “Mummy” #1, “All-New X-Men” #15, “Dark Souls Winter’s Spite” #1, “Shipwreck” #2, “Lone Ranger Green Hornet” #5, “Avengers” #1.1, “Doom Patrol” #3, “Assassin’s Creed Awakening” #1, “Mother Panic” #1, “Belladonna” #2, “All-Star Batman” #4,
No, just … no … These comics? Not so much …
Spirit be praised, nothing was really terrible.
SO, HOW BAD WAS IT?
Cool, nothing that was irksome!
WINNERS AND LOSERS
This week is a winner not just because nothing stank but because there’s three comics you’ll enjoy re-reading.
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, “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!