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WHAT IS THE BUY PILE?

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).  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 AUGUST 20TH, 2008

Transformers: All Hail Megatron #2

Transformers: All Hail Megatron #2 (IDW Publishing)

Jump from the Read Pile.  There's not much by way of plot here.  If you're looking for a reason why Megatron and his merry mass of mechanoids are in Manhattan wreaking havoc ... yeah, no chance of that.  The funny thing is that this issue (like its predecessor) wallows so effectively in the sheer bad-ass-ness of the Decepticons (and one well introduced human character) that it almost doesn't matter.  For some reason Ravage is drooling, a federal agent gets punched in the mouth, and the words "Unleash Frenzy" show why the diminutive Decepticon can hang with the big bots.  You get a sense of the real joy Megatron and his troops have for their work, with nary an Autobot to be seen, ready to spoil the fun.  Bring on the bad guys indeed.  

X-Factor: Layla Miller One-Shot

X-Factor: Layla Miller #1 (Marvel Comics)

Jump from the Read Pile.  Marvel's other interesting teenager (the first being, of course, Amadeus Cho ... can we get those two in a book together?) is back, working her way through the future with her unique gift conversely amazing people and/or freaking them out.  Virtually everything she does is a spoiler, so know that she's a magnetic personality and her deadpan delivery could put Fox Mulder to shame.  A fan favorite X-man makes a guest appearance and there's a trip to sunny Atlantic City in the works.  Who wouldn't love that?  Peter David's characterization is engrossing, there's great action scenes and this issue gets better the more you read it ... except for one teensy problem.  Twice in this issue, the aforementioned X-man's name is spelled wrong.  This isn't a new character.  This is a guy who's been around a long time. Decades.  Peter David has written this guy before.  This issue has two editors in Will Panzo and Aubrey Siterson.  Both, one would theorize, have seen this guy's name in print before, yet it flew by them.  Cory Pettit probably put in the lettering for this issue on a computer.  Nobody thought of spell checking this standard word?  Seriously?  Other than that somewhat distracting point, good work.

Rex Mundi #13

Rex Mundi #13 (Dark Horse Comics)

This isn't your normal issue, as with the intense events of previous issues involving the Duke of Lorraine.  Instead, you get two short stories set in the world of Julian Sauniere, first showcasing one of Lorraine's forebears showing some of the steel that eventually led him to stand astride a continent ... with a very weird bit thrown in that still manages to work.  Then, the nebbishy Brother Matthew gets his Adrian Monk on in the start of a murder mystery that continues here at CBR.  Interesting stuff that draws you in.    

WHAT'S THE PROGNOSIS?

Looking good so far! Picked up the "Iron Fist" reprint book too ...

THIS WEEK'S READ PILE

Honorable Mentions: Stuff worth noting, even if it's not good enough to buy

Right until relentlessly stupid last panel, "Final Crisis: Legion of Three Worlds" #1 was enjoyable for fans of the property.  You had Brainy being snarky.  You had Garth being a hot head, with Irma trying to calm him down.  Good stuff all.  You even got -- and you know you've been waiting for it -- a shot of Tyroc (who doesn't need more Tyroc in their life?) and other long lost characters.  Admittedly, the final solution Brainiac comes up with doesn't exactly take a twelfth-level intellect to devise, but it's all fun in its own way ... all right, fine!  It wasn't great, but come on! Tyroc was in it! Eh?  Eh?  Eh ...

"Incredible Hercules" #120 teaches some really important things about the Skrull religion while involving lots of punching and stabbing and dying and what not.  Close to the mark, but it could have benefited from a smidgen more logic in the talk around the central fight and art that depicted all of this better (like Romita Jr. on "Thor" when that title had Thanos and the Designate going on).  

There wasn't very much actually happening in "Anna Mercury" #3, but what did occur was well worth watching.  Truthfully, the whole mini-series could have been made to fit in two issues and been paced more effectively.  But not bad, for being kind of overinflated.  

The backup story with the Riddler was better than Superman's huffing and puffing in "Trinity" #12, as Edward Nigma gets considerably more involved in a mystery than he expected.  

"Ultimate Fantastic Four" #57 had great chemistry between Ben and the issue's guest star, Sue shows why she's a big brain in her own right and the ending is cute.  But the visuals on the central action piece leave something to be desired.  

The energy on "Batman and the Outsiders" #10 was better than the plot as the ghost of Jeffrey Bochs makes a metaphorical appearance and an old crossover gets another chance to shine in a lethal operation that the Bat's hell bent on shutting down.  

Stark's vulnerability and determination made "Iron Man: Director of SHIELD" #32 work pretty well.  But the Overmind thing was too fast and the resolution lacked clarity.  

No, just ... no ...  These comics?  Not so much ...

Seriously, has nobody else noticed that virtually the last four issues played out something like "Tangent: Superman's Reign?"  Seriously, short of the Bat's impersonating Kara Thrace with the Hybrid, nothing new came out here. "Ooh, the Superman's kicking everybody's butt!"  Yawn.

Speaking of bad ideas, bad guys in "Birds of Prey" #121 ... you've got a superlatively secretive and overwhelmingly profitable criminal enterprise.  But all of a sudden you've got super heroes sniping at your heels.  Your best idea is to align yourself with the grinning Michael Bay special effect that graces the cover?  Seriously?  That's dumb.  

Oh, and while we're talking bad ideas, "Voltron: A Legend Forged" #2 borrows a page from the Kyle Reece playbook, and that's ... well ... stupid, too, honestly.  For proper management of time paradoxes (paradoxi?) please see our friend Layla Miller above.  

SO, HOW BAD WAS IT?

Not really anything to complain about here.

WINNERS AND LOSERS

Three jumps, not bad reads, that's a "yay!"

THE HUNDRED AND FOUR

This week on The Hundred and Four you'll find original crime fiction from Ritch Hall 2nd kicking off four consecutive weeks of short fiction from new voices.  

Tags: transformers, x-factor, rex mundi comic

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