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 JULY 20, 2016
Weird Detective #2
(Dark Horse Comics)
Jump from the Read Pile.
Imagine all the strange police work J'onn J'onnz probably did before going public. Imagine the oddities he'd seen, the extremes he went to in order to keep his secret. This issue and this series puts you chest deep in that feeling as an alien trapped on earth, talking to his cat and solving crimes like a much more secretive Adrian Monk. He can't reveal what he knows, even when a man's life is at risk and he can't help his blackmailed partner who is spying on him for a corrupt chief. Richly told, wonderfully nuanced noir here by Fred Van Lente, Guiu Vilanova, Mauricio Wallace and Nate Piekos.
WHAT'S THE PROGNOSIS?
Slow start ...
THIS WEEK'S READ PILE
Honorable Mentions: Stuff worth noting, even if it's not good enough to buy
"Astro City" #37 was a rare stumble, an anthology-style story with the return of a very meta framing device talking about how music and superpowers intertwined in the area that would eventually be called Astro City. This historical diversion -- like others featuring the scattered presence of the Broken Man -- are larger story points writer Kurt Busiek wants to address more directly than Easter eggs scattered here and there in the normal narratives. This is world building and, as such, is slightly wiki-ish. Was it bad? Spirit, no. Was it an actual story that satisfied? Not exactly. Great for die-hard completists who will be able to look back and say, "This is where the war started," but for anyone else, it may fall short.
In "Darth Vader" #23, as with many previous issues, just as Vader is about to do something awesome, he's confounded by some cheap trick or random accident. On the other hand, the evil doppelgangers of the Rebels -- BT-1, Triple Zero, Doctor Aphra (a mix of Han and Leia gone wrong) and Black Krrsantan (a wookiee bounty hunter with an eyepatch) -- are amazing in everything they do and legitimately could carry their own book at this point. A mixed bag with some great looking art that doesn't quite get the kineticism of lightsaber combat.
"Betty And Veronica" #1 has no fewer than six fantastic dialogue moments, exposing character and showcasing how this series works in the modern day despite its disturbingly conservative roots. The plot -- the gang struggles with Pop's burger place closing down -- is so cliched that even the characters herein comment on how commonplace it is. If you're looking for 1950s comics dressed in the clothes of today, this one does it really well.
Hearkening back to the Clone Wars days of Rex and Cody, a determined group of specialist Stormtroopers hit lots of targets in "Star Wars" #21. Similar to Jahan Cross in the old Dark Horse continuity, Sergeant Kreel shows why people would love the Empire (it's not just the snazzy visual design) and hate the Rebellion (it's not just being scruffy looking) while showing the efficiency that conquered a galaxy in effect. Very close to the mark, like a great game of "Team Fortress 2."
"A&A The Adventures Of Archer And Armstrong" #5 was an adorable first date between Archer and the other most likable hero in conics, Faith. They trade nerdy references, have a romantic dinner, watch "The Princess Bride" on a big screen ... if you could have a first date, it'd be nice to do it like this. Does that make it an interesting story? Not so much, but it was very sweet, and that's not bad.
"Snotgirl" #1 was self-obsessed, vain, vapid, delusional and narcissistic ... on purpose. Like that Hulu series about awful human beings, this depicted one less-than-mature woman's quest for happiness and avoiding actual, you know, work and normal life. Well done in making a wholly unlikeable protagonist and situation, north of Olympic in LA, but not very entertaining unless you love that sort of thing.
"Chew" #56 is another example why this is gonna make one heck of a TV show, but didn't exactly have enough story to make it a single issue of a comic book.
"Ultimates" #9 was extremely close to the mark as a wholly new solution to a planet-threatening problem was devised in the midst of the current Civil War. Unfortunately, the internecine struggle felt contrived and the threat itself seemed inconclusively resolved. This issue was ambitious but the reach exceeds the grasp here.
The "Meh" Pile Not good enough to praise, not bad enough to insult, "Superman" #3, "Xena Warrior Princess" #4, "Guardians Of Infinity" #8, "Hellblazer Rebirth" #1, "Rai" #15, "Assassin's Creed" #10, "Legends Of Tomorrow" #5, "Back To The Future Citizen Brown" #3, "Nighthawk" #3, "Green Arrow" #3, "Norman" #2, "Joyners" #2, "Letter 44" #26, "Thunderbolts" #3, "Casanova Acedia" #6, "Dept. H" #4, "Exodus The Life After" #6, "Faith" #1, "Groo Fray Of The Gods" #1, "Heroes Godsend" #5, "Justice League" #1, "Black Widow" #5, "Captain Kid" #1, "Velvet" #15, "Nova" #9, "Joyride" #4, "Green Lanterns" #3, "Astonishing Ant-Man" #10, "Buffy The Vampire Slayer Season 10" #29, "Lucifer" #8, "Think Tank Creative Destruction" #4, "Patsy Walker A.K.A. Hellcat" #8, "New Suicide Squad" #22, "Mighty Morphin Power Rangers" #5, "She Wolf" #2, "Aquaman" #3, "All-New Wolverine" #10, "Black Hammer" #1, "Scooby Apocalypse" #3, "All-New Inhumans" #9, "Second Sight" #6, "Lazarus" #23, "Spider-Man Deadpool" #7, "Batman" #3, "A-Force" #7.
No, just ... no ... These comics? Not so much ...
"Brickleberry" #1 was like the scary love child of "Family Guy" and a bad acid trip. With discriminatory jokes deflated as they're stated, a plot that felt like it got lost on the way to somewhere uninteresting, this was a big mess.
SO, HOW BAD WAS IT?
Even the stuff that wasn't bad was a little bit of a struggle ...
WINNERS AND LOSERS
With as much of an ordeal as it was, this was no way to go into Nerdi Gras ...
If you are at Comic-Con International in San Diego, this columnist is on some panels and already has some announcements to make ...
If you missed Star Wars Celebration, this columnist was on a podcast giving a pretty good summation of the goodies.
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 and "Executive Assistant Iris Sourcebook" #1, 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!