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 28, 2016
Deathstroke #9 (DC Comics)
This was a surprise in that the book felt like it ended before it finished its thought. Set up as a multi-location narrative framed inside a flashback, this story was fleshing out Slade Wilson, including the origin of his nom de guerre and his morally conflicted daughter. It was really warming up, digging into Slade’s history and then just … stopped. Good work from Christopher J. Priest, Cary Nord, Jeromy Cox and Willie Schubert, but it will leave you hungry.
G.I. JOE #1 (IDW Publishing) — Jump from the Read Pile.
Some creators see “continuity” as a bad word, an arbitrary set of rules to stop them from doing whatever they want. Writer Aubrey Sitterson (with able visuals from Giannis Milonogiannis, Lovern Kindzierski and Chris Mowry) dives into the shared nature of IDW’s new “Hasbroverse” with gusto, showcasing the modern Joes (and their surly, transforming new teammate, who is amazing) battling with their own struggles (like Shipwreck’s vegan cooking) or the cold shoulder wounded artilleryman Grand Slam has for machine gunner Rock’n’Roll) as much as they are threats beyond standard military responses. The enthusiasm of each page is intoxicating if confectionary, and it’s a fun ride.
WHAT’S THE PROGNOSIS?
Rock solid start.
THIS WEEK’S READ PILE
Honorable Mentions: Stuff worth noting, even if it’s not good enough to buy
“Captain America Steve Rogers” #8 was very close to making the jump as its titular character balances being good at both of his jobs, which is no easy feat. If he had an actual antagonist worth fighting, this could have been epic, but the flashbacks only go to make his motivations seem logical, not move the plot to where the motivations inform his actions. Ironically, he’s better at being bad than being good.
“Extraordinary X-Men” #17 was as close as it comes to making a crossover have real, tangible character-drive reasons. A little girl left her home in hopes of finding a cure for a lethal illness, but all she really wanted was to meet Storm, her hero. That narrative follows, as writing teachers say, its inevitable and surprising conclusion and tugs on heart strings along the way. Wrapping it all up in a done-in-one was a little too facile to push a schedule-driven imperative, but given many of the normal bland X-books in recent months, this is a big improvement.
“M.A.S.K. Mobile Armored Strike Kommand” #2 had smart, engaging action sequences and some solid moments of connection with characters. It felt like it needed two or three more pages to make the plot connect, though.
“Infamous Iron Man” #3 has an intriguing concept that falls short in execution as we find out why Victor Von Doom is trying to turn over a new leaf, recognizing how few people will go for it. That kind of character development is fascinating but was wrapped on a tortilla of tedium with Ben Grimm (he’s not getting it done this week) fripping around. If this title truly embraces this fascinating new direction, it could be something.
“Romulus” #3 was so close to making it with an effective training montage, the always amazing art and some solid quotes. Unfortunately, character growth was hard to come by and the plot did about two things, missing the “oomph” that was here before. Good information, but not as remarkably good as the previous two issues.
On one hand, “Moon Girl And Devil Dinosaur” #14 showed some promise, as it gave the titular heroine a chance to be smart and do what’s best. Unfortunately, it was wrapped in a chauvinist sandwich as the sadly frat-bro-ish Amadeus Cho and the endlessly predictable Ben Grimm sought to do the thinking for someone even they admit is smarter than they are. Well drawn, great action sequences, sadly predictable in its diminishments of a young Black girl’s magic.
“Spider-Man Deadpool” #12 was weird. It wasn’t funny in a traditional sense (or even a Deadpool sense), despite being littered with pop culture references and having a few good digs. The plot is immature and facile, the developments forgettable, but the ending stuck the landing and really worked. Not bad stuff, if you’re in a “Bad Santa” kind of mood.
The “Meh” Pile Not good enough to praise, not bad enough to insult, they just kind of happened …
“Hulk” #1, “Blue Beetle” #4, “Elephantmen” #74, “Spider-Man” #11, “Detective Comics” #947, “X-Men ’92” #10, “James Bond” #12, “Batgirl” #6, “Savage” #2, “Hal Jordan And The Green Lantern Corps” #11, “Great Lakes Avengers” #3, “Clandestino” #4, “Exodus The Life After” #10, “Hellblazer” #5, “Harley’s Little Black Book” #5, “Spider-Woman” #14, “Transformers Till All Are One” #6, “All-Star Batman” #5, “Mighty Thor” #14, “Sex” #34, “Doctor Strange And The Sorcerers Supreme” #3, “Athena Voltaire And The Volcano Goddess” #2, “Ghost Rider” #2, “Wonder Woman” #13, “Tomboy” #9, “Grimm Fairy Tales Presents Robyn Hood I Love NY” #7, “Flash” #13, “Assassin’s Creed” #14, “Star Wars” #26, “Generation Zero” #5, “Action Comics” #970, “Thunderbolts” #8, “Serenity No Power In The ‘Verse” #3, “Vigilante Southland” #3, “A.D. After Death” #2, “Justice League Vs Suicide Squad” #2, “Uncanny Avengers” #18, “Princeless Raven The Pirate Princess” #12, “Insexts” #9, “Mother Panic” #2, “Brik” #6, “Future Quest” #8, “Surgeon X” #4, “Dark Knight III The Master Race” #7, “Aliens Vs Predator Life And Death” #1, “Supergirl Being Super” #1, “Rom” #6, “East Of West” #30, “Prowler” #3, “Divinity III Komandar Bloodshot” #1, “Uncanny Inhumans” #17, “Batman Beyond” #3, “Rocket Raccoon” #1,
No, just … no … These comics? Not so much …
“Black Panther” #9 is mostly people arguing about philosophical stances and talking. Gorgeous but deeply flawed in conception.
“Civil War II” #8 was ridiculous. The centerpiece of this entire kerfluffle becomes the Ghost of Crossovers Future, Hank McCoy (of all ironic people) explains why Tony was right all along with the moral high ground while the ending falls flatter than a souffle after a loud noise. It’s embarrassing that a book that looks this good is such a failure.
SO, HOW BAD WAS IT?
Not the easiest end to the year …
WINNERS AND LOSERS
Two purchases plus two bad books equals a tie game, despite Steve Rogers swinging hard for the fences.
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!