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 OCTOBER 28, 2015
Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #1
Ryan North’s script is so wonderful and so clever and so perfectly balanced between elements of action and plot and character. The lead character’s mother comes for a visit and stands at the center of a fight with an ancient super villain that becomes just about the smartest disposition of one of these struggles, ever. The visuals from Erica Henderson, Joe Morris, Rico Renzi and VC’s Clayton Cowles is hilarious, kinetic and engaging. Once you read the comic, go back and read the even funnier captions along the bottom of most of the pages, which are informational and funny. So much fun … let’s hope this continues forever.
Jump from the Read Pile.
A buddy book between the titular character and everybody’s favorite super villain king Black Adam? They don’t have one of those cliched “fight and then team up” things? That’s almost enough to sell this issue on its own, but when you combine the fact that it’s a slow week for stories (plenty of stuff got bought, but we’ll address that in a bit) and the wonderful quotables within pushed this over the edge. Sure, the plot could have closed the loop a little more, but Villain Bros? Happening. Surprisingly fun stuff from Cullen Bunn, Brad Walker, Ethan Van Sciver, Drew Hennessey, Jason Wright and Dave Sharpe.
WHAT’S THE PROGNOSIS?
Super expensive week, given two regular books plus the purchase of “Secret Wars Official Handbook Of Marvel Multiverse” #1 and “Shaft A Complicated Man,” but a very entertaining one.
THIS WEEK’S READ PILE
Honorable Mentions: Stuff worth noting, even if it’s not good enough to buy
“Black Magick” #1 is a story of a police detective who also happens to be a practicing Wiccan, trying to balance a life of magic against work as a public servant. The pacing is like a noirish late night network procedural or a cable presentation and the starkness of the black and white art works well. The dialogue is a bit too stark for its own good, like the earlier seasons of “Law and Order,” but its easy to see where this could get interesting.
“Cyborg” #4 is a conundrum as it does some great character work — between the titular character and his father, between two multiversal versions of the female lead — but falls down on the antagonist side, both massaging Victor Stone’s origins in a much more Giorgio A. Tsoukalos direction and making STAR Labs into an urban Area 51. Great art, great character, less-than-compelling adversaries.
“Stringers” #3 wasn’t quite as good as previous issues, with more deliberate pacing and some tense action scenes. It wasn’t quite as packed with information density, being more atmospheric in creating further conflict with its two affable protagonists. Not bad at all, but just thinner on plot than it needed to be for a standalone issue.
In “IXth Generation” #6 the old toys of the Top Cow universe are back on display, and that will be very satisfying for longtime fans. There’s not much room for character as the very ambitious plot rolls towards you, and the coloring on some of the Ares panels was a bit hard to read, but this well-conceived idea just missed on execution.
The “Meh” Pile Not good enough to praise, not bad enough to insult, not important enough to say much more than the title
“New Suicide Squad” #13, “Stan Lee’s Chakra The Invincible” #4, “Fight Club 2” #6, “Deathstroke” #11, “Book Of Death” #4, “Robin Son Of Batman” #5, “Cyrus Perkins And The Haunted Taxi Cab” #1, “Flash” #45, “Arcadia” #6, “Batman And Robin Eternal” #4, “What If Infinity Dark Reign” #1, “F1rst Hero Fight For Your Life” #3, “Batgirl” #45, “Spider-Man 2099” #2, “Transformers Redemption” #1, “Art Ops” #1, “New Avengers” #2, “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” #51, “Aquaman” #45, “Kanan” #7, “Savage Dragon” #208, “We Are Robin” #5, “Howling Commandos Of S.H.I.E.L.D.” #1, “Book Of Death Legends Of The Geomancer” #4, “Grayson” #13, “House Of M” #4, “Wild’s End The Enemy Within” #2, “From Under Mountains” #2, “Deadpool Vs Thanos” #4, “He-Man The Eternity War” #11, “Shrinking Man” #4, “Chewbacca” #2, “Justice League 3001” #5, “Chew” #51, “Captain America Sam Wilson” #2, “Justice League Darkseid War Batman” #1, “Angela Queen Of Hel” #1.
No, just … no … These comics? Not so much …
“Tomorrows” #4 is part tone poem and part dream of a better world, with pithy realizations a la “The Waking Life,” but as a story this is a michegas if the highest order. For those who like to imbibe this will be conversational manna, but it’s not coherent enough for much else.
If you look up the phrase “how the mighty hath fallen,” you might see the cover of “Superman” #45 staring back at you. “Borrowing” rides on passing airplanes, spending his last cash on tacos and — on the last page — making a decision so crass and beneath his status that even Kevin Costner’s Pa Kent would shake his head in disgust. Perhaps that’s the plan at DC — fell the mightiest hero in American mythology, bring him low like the rest of us, so he’s relatable. If so, it’s at best wrong-headed and at worst criminal in this instance, as Clark Kent does a very bad job of being an investigator, being a hero and being the ideal that decades of popular culture have created. This isn’t a “Superman” comic, it’s a hate letter to superheroics.
SO, HOW BAD WAS IT?
Those were some really problematic comics and a lotta “meh” in between …
WINNERS AND LOSERS
The week was a wash between two purchases and two stinkers so it all ends up something of an academic point.
Running a panel along side hip hop legend DMC at Limited Edition. Appearing on one panel and moderating another at Stan Lee’s Comikaze. Spending all weekend promoting the new book “Waso: Gathering Wind.” Get all the inside information.
As of right now, you can spend ten bucks and get about 175,000 words worth of fiction from the writer of this column. The links that follow tell you where 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, 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!
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