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 MARCH 18, 2015
Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #3
Jump from the Read Pile.
When everything borders on the ridiculous and a central conceit is gleefully pushed like a political agenda, it gives the reader a certain freedom to sit back and enjoy the story, provided the narrative holds together. This issue, cementing this title as a "buy on sight,' awards that liberty with aplomb and joy as the indefatigable central character grows in her relationships with others, overcomes adversity and -- normally the hardest part for absurdist books, judging from how "God Hates Astronauts" fared -- stays on target. Several very solid laughs in the margins (reading the jokes there is half of the pleasure, and you can check that with the Chipmunk Hunk), fantastic script by Ryan North, spot on visuals from Erica Henderson, Kyle Starks and Rico Renzi and just a fun, enjoyable book you can love and won't have problems if a kid finds it.
Jump from the Read Pile.
The reason so many hundreds and hundreds of Superman stories have failed is because they don't do anything to capture the imagination. The sheer wonder of the Last Son of Krypton, mucking around with the mortals, has an unmistakable value that is part science fiction and part mythology. In this remarkable issue, writer Geoff Johns, aided by the legendary art team of John Romita Jr., Klaus Jansen and Hi-Fi, encapsulates the effect of the Superman mythos on the popular consciousness as Jimmy Olsen finds out Clark Kent's biggest secret on the day after his "super flare" power was discovered, temporarily bringing the Man of Steel down to earth. The scariest thing about this well-drawn, smartly-paced, cleverly-plotted issue that gives some character development and Silver Age-styled wonder is that there's no punching, no violence, not even a hint of the cliches that the genre has so often derided, which isn't to say there's not tension and action and surprises and genuine moments. In a word? Wonderful.
Princess Leia #2
Jump from the Read Pile.
Here we go -- writer Mark Waid has found the sweet spot between the unspoken tragedies of the central character's life and the action heroine she kind of has to be. As quick to whip out a blaster as her mother, Leia lands on Naboo to rescue a group of Alderaanian musicians from the threat of Imperial reprisals. Along the way she gets surprises, pleasant and otherwise, while getting the begrudging respect of her traveling companion and revealing a little about her character and upbringing. A delightful balance of action, character and plot with the sure, steady hands of Terry Dodson, Rachel Dodson and Jordie Bellaire making the settings vibrant and engaging.
WHAT'S THE PROGNOSIS?
Three very re-readable, super-enjoyable comics that won their way home. Hell of a start.
THIS WEEK'S READ PILE
Honorable Mentions: Stuff worth noting, even if it's not good enough to buy
"Ivar Timewalker" #3 had a couple of very, very engaging moments (including one Jesse Pinkman would love) but ultimately wandered where "Misfits" and "Doctor Who" and others have gone more engagingly. There's a somewhat effective bit between Ivar and his companion, but this has more holes than cheese. Next time, baby.
The "Meh" Pile Not good enough to praise, not bad enough to insult, not important enough to say much more than the title
"Witchblade" #181, "Transformers" #39, "Captain America And The Mighty Avengers" #6, "Alex + Ada" #13, "Guardians Team-Up" #3, "Teen Titans" #8, "All-New X-Men" #39, "Bigger Bang" #4, "Green Lantern New Guardians" #40, "All-New Captain America" #5, "Eternal" #3, "Hulk" #13, "Chrononauts" #1, "Legenderry Red Sonja" #2, "Secret Identities" #2, "Batman Eternal" #50, "Shaper" #1, "Fly Outbreak" #1, "Earth 2 World's End" #24, "Moon Knight" #13, "Orphan Black" #2, "Loki Agent Of Asgard" #12, "Giant Days" #1, "Silk" #2, "Invisible Republic" #1, "Wolverines" #11, "Buffy The Vampire Slayer Season 10" #13, "Supergirl" #40, "Rocket Salvage" #4, "Amazing Spider-Man" #16.1, "Batgirl Endgame" #1, "Princess Ugg" #8, "Cyclops" #11, "Reyn" #3, "Batwoman" #40, "Charmed Season 10" #6, "G.I. JOE A Real American Hero" #211, "Storm" #9, "Batgirl" #40, "Bucky Barnes The Winter Soldier" #6, "Doctor Who The Twelfth Doctor" #6, "Altered States Doc Savage" #1, "Red Hood And The Outlaws" #40, "Magneto" #16, "Dungeons And Dragons Legends Of Baldur's Gate" #5, "Batman Superman" #20, "Red One" #1, "Black Widow" #16.
No, just ... no ... These comics? Not so much ...
Hh. Nothing terrible. Cool.
SO, HOW BAD WAS IT?
Really? Nothing bad? That's almost a guaranteed win.
WINNERS AND LOSERS
Three jumps, no bad comics ... that makes this one of the best weeks in recent memory. Hoo hah!
Last Friday, the writer of this panel was honored to sit on a panel full of academic titans discussing "ethnosurrealism in visual art," representing (in part) a comic book sensibility, all part of Loyola Marymount University's Astro Blackness 2 conference. Check out the entire panel online.
Next Wednesday? "Soulfire Sourcebook" #1 will be in comic book stores. There may be a signing at Hi De Ho Comics in Santa Monica, but we'll see.
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, the official guide to the flagship franchise for Aspen Comics. 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!