Every week Hannibal Tabu (journalist/blogger/novelist/poet/karaoke host/jackass) goes to a comic book store called Comics Ink in Culver City, CA (Overland and Braddock -- hey Steve, Jason, Vince and Sally) and grabs a whole lotta comics. These periodicals are quickly sorted 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). Ã‚Â Thursday afternoons (Diamond monopolistic practices willing, and yes, it used to be mornings, but management asked for it to slide back some), you'll be able to get his thoughts (and they're just the opinions of one guy, so calm down) about all of that ... which goes something like this ...
THE BUY PILE FOR OCTOBER 8TH, 2008
Deadpool #3(Marvel Comics)
Jump from the Read Pile. The Secret Invasion has hit a considerable snag. Despite being plagued with delusions, Deadpool still manages to shoot and murder his way through the bulk of an entire Skrull invasion force. He also does something very, very smart ... which is very, very funny. Daniel Way has a gift here, and he makes this character practically jitterbug off the page. The talented artwork of Paco Medina, Juan Vlasco and Marte Gracia goes a long way to making this issue even more excellent, so yeah, this is now a buy-on-sight series.
Drafted #11(Devil's Due Publishing)
Jump from the Read Pile. This series has been hovering on the edge of "the good stuff" for a while, it finally stepped up its game with drastically improved artwork from Chris Lie, Erfian Asafat, Lius Lasahido and Caravan Studio's Faisal. Check the closeup of Preston Walker, look at the details on the lighting. As for the story here, imagine all the sound and fury of the series "V" or the classic invasion films of the fifties. The invasion of Earth has begun, the struggle the characters have spent ten issues preparing for, and it pays off big time with apocalyptic scenery, the grit of people forced into service to defend their homes and families. Classical themes cast in a a futuristic light of struggle. Well done.
Secret Six #2
Secret Six #2(DC Comics)
Jump from the Read Pile. Speaking of stepping up their game, there's some big time moments here -- one in the San Francisco Bay, several on a Gotham rooftop featuring the focal Cat vs. Bat struggle, one in a strip club -- and some witty, well-played dialogue that gets the job done ("You hit me in the ornament-things!" and "Want her to apologize through tears and blood. Mostly blood ... Make them drink battery acid. Break them and molest them and stab them and burn them. Fill them with hope and then take that hope away cruelly") in a major way. Wicked fun and very entertaining.
Rex Mundi #14
Rex Mundi #14(Dark Horse Comics)
A long-standing character is laid to rest, Lorraine's daughter shows her strength, romance blooms and gunshots ring out. It's the rise of a Francophone reich in this latest chapter of the alternative history tale as Juan Ferreyra's artwork continues to shine and Arvid Nelson's writing keeps this engine moving on to his proposed finale. Sure, new readers would have a hard time ramping up -- nothing new there -- but this is still a solid piece of entertainment.
Invincible Iron Man #6
The Invincible Iron Man #6(Marvel Comics)
If you see this cover (which is one of two variants available at retail), you'll get a little bit of a spoiler while Obadiah Stane's quest for vengeance continues. Matt Fraction's script ratchets up the suspense with fantastic narration and razor sharp plotting, while moody and dramatic artwork from Salvador Larocca and Frank D'armata sets the scene for this dramatic conclusion. This is a landmark storyline that blurs all the lines for Tony Stark and takes things to a whole new level. Stellar material here that will be remarked on in the future.
WHAT'S THE PROGNOSIS?
Wow. Great week of comics!
THIS WEEK'S READ PILE
Honorable Mentions:Stuff worth noting, even if it's not good enough to buy
The closest to making the jump was "Secret Invasion: Inhumans" #3 for its tripartate script breaking down the Skrulls as well as delving into the struggles of a family that's been in crisis for some time. However, the Scooby Doo-styled division (what to do with a relative Aquaman?) and the petulance of Crystal didn't help (what was up with Ronan?) left too many questions for it to make the jump.
"Transformers Spotlight: Sideswipe" was ambitious but overreaching as the title character was barely a cameo in his own issue, casting aside the idea of Sunstreaker as his brother and making him a superior officer instead. The issue itself was busy, with unclear action on half a dozen locations and a conclusion that's nothing like easily comprehensible. Good actions scenes, though, and you can surely see what they intended, just not really accomplishing it in the process.
The "Meh" PileNot good enough to praise, not bad enough to insult, not important enough to say much more than the title
"Action Comics" #870 was an embarrassment, cribbing plot points from "Smallville," turning Supergirl's attitude on a dime, treating Braniac very stupidly and just generally trying way too hard for way too little reward.
The attempts at tragically pulling heart strings in "Avengers/Invaders" #5 was too soon, all too soon, with a plot that was too mixed up to follow any reliable linearity. Kinda pretty, though.
"Final Crisis: Revelations" #3 has as its benefit following closely the events in "Final Crisis." As its costs? The pomp and circumstance of raising Cain is marginally more effective than the actual effects. It's reaching for adequacy, but not quite making it.
SO, HOW BAD WAS IT?
Kinda blah this week.
WINNERS AND LOSERS
Jumps overrule blah in a week that has some purchases worth remembering.
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. Physical comics? Geddouttahere. Too much drama to store with diminishing resources.
Furthermore, as if this reviewer here wasn't obnoxious enough with his opinions, he's part of an effort to teach writers about how to do the work at The Hundred and Four, where this week there's original science fiction from Hannibal Tabu. New content is posted every Wednesday.