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 SEPTEMBER 2, 2015
Transformers More Than Meets The Eye #44
There is a metaphor woven into this, grounded in a sci-fi concept that adds great depth and complexity to the property. What happens to Transformers when they die? This issue offers some answers to that question, making it intensely personal for two members of the crew. Impossibly, writer James Roberts has upped his game again, creating sone of the cleverest science fiction on the market, all deftly rendered by Hayato Sakamoto, Joana LaFuente and Tom B. Long.
WHAT'S THE PROGNOSIS?
Those last pages ... those will stick with you. Wow.
THIS WEEK'S READ PILE
Honorable Mentions: Stuff worth noting, even if it's not good enough to buy
When people in the intelligence community talk about "turning" or "flipping" an asset (a person they want to control), you get the basic idea. Lying and saying whatever it takes to get said sucker to do what you want, the credo of pimps and politicians alike. "Omega Men" #4 takes you in depth with it, with Kyle Rayner as the target of this kind of seductive dance, playing him like a Fender Rhodes all while the Omega Men watch. This comic book is mean and cynical and toys with the emotions of the superhero fan, and in its own way it is beautiful in doing it. However, the rushed visuals from a guest artist are nowhere near as enjoyable despite the strength of Tom King's script. Hopefully an aberration.
"Groot" #4 had a couple of laughs and some interesting ideas (does Numinus have anything to do with Black Cat, Longshot or Domino?), it was saddled by a disturbing trend in comics and a supporting cast that seemed like it was made with cookie cutters. In the "meh" range but saved by the charm of its titular character.
"Rachel Rising" #36 feels like it's warming up to something with its sibling rivalry and a teenager cherished by an entity considered beyond love. The elegance of its sparse, memorable line work is a draw, and the story has room for, well, biblical proportions despite its ponderous plotting. Maybe on its way somewhere, but it at least it's picked up some momentum.
"Poseidon IX" #1 again presents interesting ideas without taking the time to make them matter to characters. The titular character is a polyamorous, pompous bombast with delusions of grandeur, ruling over a city of hedonistic cyborgs. That could be something, but an outside context problem inexplicably (literally, without any explanation) makes a mess of things and kind of pads into the house like a hungry stray dog. Adjacent to interesting, but not in the same house.
"Green Lantern" #44 had the new character Trapper show some signs of being interesting, especially if you liked the character Mouse in the movie "Devil In A Blue Dress," and this issue had interesting artwork. Unfortunately, Hal Jordan was just as dull as he has been for most of the Silver Age, and his unidimensional adversaries were as boring as they were brief. A slice above "meh," but not a big one.
"Daredevil" #18 was a very close to making it home with a pivotal confrontation between Kingpin and Daredevil that echoed the brutality of the Netflix series. It was a little speechy (but had well-used litigator moments) and the crux of the conflict's resolution was a bit old hat (in its literal execution, metaphorically it was very strong), but for Daredevil fans, this will be a must have.
If you melded slacker morale, the energy of "Powers" and elements of "Stand By Me" you'd get "Plutona" #1, a quirky sideways look at lives on the sidelines of super hero battles. It's got somewhat lethargic pacing and stereotypical characters but there's a kind of energy reminiscent to some of Image's quirkier titles, so if that's your thing, this probably will be too.
Given the high concentration of Gallifreyans in these pages, it's surprising that "Doctor Who Event 2015 Four Doctors" #4 lost a step after the great issue last time. The monologuing lacks pep, the evil plan lacks panache ... let's hope it picks up the pace for the finale.
"Lazarus" #19 had a gripping story element that dominated its pages but was diluted by subplots that will likely play well in a collection but lacked context in the periodical format. This was, as it often is, close to the mark but not quite making it work.
Booster Gold, inexplicably, helped "Bat-Mite" #4 become the most coherent, understandable issue in this series so far as the man from the 25th century needs one piece of information from the Bat-themed sprite and along the way fixes multiple plot points that came up. If anything beyond a point of character development actually happened, this could have been a contender.
The "Meh" Pile Not good enough to praise, not bad enough to insult, not important enough to say much more than the title
"Squadron Sinister" #3, "We Stand On Guard" #3, "Hail Hydra" #2, "Jem And The Holograms" #6, "Lobo" #10, "House Of M" #2, "Aliens Vampirella" #1, "Imperium" #8, "This Damned Band" #2, "Midnighter" #4, "Thors" #3, "Jupiter's Circle" #6, "Mockingbird S.H.I.E.L.D. 50th Anniversary" #1, "Danger Girl Renegade" #1, "Spider-Island" #3, "Batman Beyond" #4, "Age Of Apocalypse" #3, "Silk" #7, "Adventures Of Aero-Girl" #4, "Figment 2" #1, "Angel And Faith Season 10" #18, "Uncanny Season 2" #6, "X-O Manowar" #40, "Casanova Acedia" #4, "Swords Of Sorrow Miss Fury Lady Rawhide Special" #1, "Silver Surfer" #14, "Herald Lovecraft And Tesla" #6, "Adam.3" #2, "Deadpool Vs Thanos" #1, "Justice Inc The Avenger" #4, "Star-Lord And Kitty Pryde" #3, "Doctor Who The Tenth Doctor" #15, "Green Arrow" #44, "Age Of Ultron Vs Marvel Zombies" #4.
No, just ... no ... These comics? Not so much ...
"Future Imperfect" #5 was a cop out, a false flag, a red herring and a huge let down. To be fair, not listening to the entirety of what people are saying may be one of society's largest annoyances, true, but this is poor comedy.
SO, HOW BAD WAS IT?
One bad book? Well ... okay there was that one really weird thing, but still ... that's not so bad.
WINNERS AND LOSERS
Despite some very ambitious attempts, one buy versus one stinker means the week is a wash.
This weekend, shows at the L.A. County Fair begin. Let's get it on.
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!