WHAT IS THE BUY PILE?
Every week Hannibal Tabu (journalist/novelist/poet/jackass) goes to a comic book store called Comics Ink in Culver City, CA (Overland and Braddock -- hey Steve and Jason) and grabs a whole lotta comics. These periodicals are quickly sorted into two piles -- the "buy" pile (a small pile most weeks, comprised of books that are too good to not own) and the "read" pile (often huge, often including comics that are really crappy but have some value to stay abreast of). Thursdays (Diamond monopolistic practices willing), you'll be able to get thoughts about all of that ... something like this ...
THE BUY PILE FOR NOVEMBER 29TH, 2006
Seriously -- anybody still left on the "I'm With Iron Man" side of the Civil War, please raise your hands? In an issue filled with smart allusions and surprises in combat, Tony Stark comes down hard ... on a heavily armed foreign national and his wife who can control the freaking weather. Seriously? Again, T'Challa comes to talk, leaps into action in defense of others, and all hell breaks loose. The pattern is kind of well established at this point, as many bits of the "world tour" have gone something like this, but the clear ideological dig at the pro-registration side chooses sides and ... well, just kind of paint Tony Stark as a villain willing to even sacrifice his own best friend. That's ... well, that's kind of messed up. But as was said by John Cougar Mellencamp, "ain't that America?"
Talent #4 (Boom! Studios)
Mild mannered college professor Nicholas Dane has the memories and abilities of a plane full of people ... and one of them happens to be a professional killer who worked for the people who ultimately downed the plane. So Nicholas Dane goes to guns and has a big dance number punctuated by spent shell casings, and it's quite the sight to see. There's a serious mythology element played up and it gives a sort of Millennium Group vibe to the title. The mix of energies works perfectly, and the whimsical couple of assassins tracking along add a fun comic slant. Good stuff all around, and solid entertainment.
Transformers: Escalation #1 (IDW Publishing)
Jump from the Read Pile. A simple mission to return their human friends to normal lives turns lethal as the forces of the US government take up arms against the mechanical influence while Megatron makes big plans to do that Megatron thing he does. Simon Furman has tightened up some of the loose edges from his old Marvel run in a story that's stripped down to bare essentials and keeps characterization solid. For old school TF fans this issue offers a nice glimpse of the robots we want to see, but doesn't get bogged down in old continuity. Also, this isn't hindered by the glacial pace of the prior series. A solid start.
WHAT'S THE PROGNOSIS?
Not too expensive, and solidly entertaining.
Oh, in case you think the Buy Pile took the week off last week, last week's purchases include: SUPERGIRL AND THE LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES #24, CASANOVA #6, OFFICIAL HANDBOOK OF THE MARVEL UNIVERSE #11, JACK OF FABLES #5, X-FACTOR #13 (therapy wasn't as groundbreaking this time), PUNISHER WAR JOURNAL #1 and G0DLAND #14.
THIS WEEK'S READ PILE
Retailer Steve Leclaire was extolling the virtues of that "Batman/Spirit" one-shot, which is well done in terms of craft but wasn't the aesthetic taste of this reviewer. "Star Wars Legacy" #6 was an improvement due to closing in on more personal stakes and scaling back from the huge cast ... but isn't quite there yet. "The Immortal Iron Man" #1 was ambitious and working on something with the whole terrorist megacorp angle, but it fell down on the job with limp follow through and a bad ending, and the "Punisher XMas Special" was brutal and harsh, but a cold comfort if that's your holiday spirit. "Ultimate Power" #2 was a busy and crowded fight scene that was pretty but lacked animus.
Last week looked a little bit better, despite Diamond shorting a number of titles in the Comics Ink order (the wonders of a monopoly). "Civil War: Frontline" #8, "Blue Beetle" #9, "JSA Classified" #19 and "Boys" #5. "Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters" #5 was ambitious but critically flawed, and merely checking in as "eh" was "Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes 2" #2, "52" #30, and nothing happening interestingly in "Runaways" #22 and "Heroes for Hire" #4. Jericho calls it a comeback in "Teen Titans" #41 (didn't he go nuts and try to kill everybody?) and ... well, seriously, why? "Captain America" #24 was best when it didn't look at how whiny Steve Rogers is anytime he's not punching something.
No, just ... no ...
For the last time: Superman cannot breathe in outer space, despite what you see in the predictably stupid "Superman/Batman" #30. Moreover, someone should alert Geoff Johns (or his editor) that the Rocket Red corps were virtually obliterated and sold off for parts way back in an issue of either "Outsiders" or "Teen Titans" (since Vandal Savage was gonna launch heroes in suits as nuclear missiles), despite what you'd believe in "Green Lantern" #15 (plus, Sinestro Corps? Freedom Beast? Urg). Flash #6? Dull. Ion #8? Ill-suited art and lackluster swashbuckling. Oh, and just for fun, given the Avengers storyline with the mutant powers concentrating in one guy "Onslaught Reborn" #1 simply cannot have happened.
From last week? "Wolverine" #48, "Wonder Woman" #3 (not worth the wait).
SO, HOW BAD WAS IT?
It was kind of ugly both weeks.
WINNERS AND LOSERS
Last week was good, this week was ... eh.