The Buy Pile: Defenders, Transformers & Vigilantes, Oh My!

Transformers: Lost Light #6


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 ...


Transformers Lost Light #6 (IDW Publishing)

This is a very challenging book, as it balances impossible second chances for characters thought forever lost. Megatron undergoes a transformation beyond anything he's ever done before as Rodimus has to make real leadership decisions, Rung does the impossible and so much crazy stuff happens that it barely fits on the page. Writer James Roberts was working on overdrive with this script and it rewards long time readers. However, there was so much happening at once, it isn't as forgiving to the neophyte. As always, Jack Lawrence, Joana LaFuente and Tom B. Long make sense of it all, rendering these ideas into visuals you can consume and understand (making the differentiation between a speaking 30-foot tall robot and the 70-foot tall robot next to him ain't easy) to put together what remains one of the most stimulating titles on the stands.

Daredevil #21 (Marvel Comics)

Daredevil #21
Get ready for a whole new approach to vigilante justice in Daredevil #21.

Jump from the Read Pile. This issue is insane. On many levels, it makes zero sense and defies everything you know about vigilante justice. However, it presents an opportunity, and that opportunity is new and refreshing and wholly unlike anything else you've seen in superhero comics, bridging the gap towards the more literary approaches of "Top 10." There are a few great character moments ("Phenomenal") and a showcase of teamwork and innovative crimefighting that is both elegant and creative. Writer Charles Soule really thought this script through, delivering something action packed and thoughtful. Then, the visual team of Goran Sudzuka, Matt Milla and Clayton Cowles held the reader close on every page. This is clever, brilliant work.

Deathstroke #20 (DC Comics)

Deathstroke #20
Things fall apart and come together for Slade Wilson in Deathstroke #20.

Assassin Slade Wilson has experienced a shakubuku moment akin to Martin Blank and proceeds to manipulate people around him with Christian dogma and scripture while heading down a path that clearly cannot end well, but is superbly entertaining to an outside observer. Christopher Priest crafts another masterpiece mixing tragedy with gallows humor, with assistance from Larry Hama, Carlo Pagulayan, Jason Paz, Sean Parsons, Jeromy Cox and Willie Schubert bringing the madness to life.

RELATED: Deathstroke, Kid Flash’s New Team Teased in Lazarus Contract Finale

Night Owl Society #3 (IDW Publishing)

Night Owl Society #3
Don't leave before the credits on Night Owl Society #3!

Jump from the Read Pile. ... and then there were three. In a masterful exhibition of craft, this issue takes very small, very personal stakes and gives them extraordinary resonance and depth. The son of a crime lord is forced into a kind of Sophie's Choice and gets completely Kobayashi Maru with it. The script by James Venhaus is intricate and has its protagonist go through such a journey. The visuals from Pius Bak and Marshall Dillon are skilfully paced, much like the work done in "Postal," and that kind of methodical pacing is excellent in working the tension of this narrative. With this, the third "jump" in a row, is now a "buy on sight" title, and its new direction should be quite interesting to watch.

Unstoppable Wasp #6 (Marvel Comics)

The Unstoppable Wasp #6
Nobody tells Nadia Pym what to do in The Unstoppable Wasp #6.

In this fun issue, not just Nadia Pym gets the chance to be brilliant as a team of teenaged girls reverse engineer the Vision with crap they found lying around Hank Pym's abandoned house. Yeah, like you read about. Meanwhile, the titular heroine comes face to face with everything she's been running from for the entire series in a high tech confrontation that's truly epic. Great work by Jeremy Whitley, Elsa Charretier, Megan M. Wilson and Joe Caramagna.


Whew! You'd almost wanna start reading these books all over again, they were so much fun!


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

There was one interesting bit in Avengers #8 which showed Victor von Doom might actually be a superior Iron Man after all. His chemistry with Nadia Pym is interesting, but the Ghost of Avengers Past is a paper tiger.

Nightwing #22 had some engaging character moments but a plot that swung and missed.

Hawkeye #7 has a simply epic action sequence, one that moves and is engaging yet still has surprises in it. The plot is less thrilling as it did nothing unpredictable, but this book wasn't bad.

Another Castle #1 is extremely close to making the mark with a princess that would fits the feminist niche with Princess Ugg. The plot and premise are brilliant and empowering, even while most of the characters (especially the drab antagonist) are depressingly cliche.

Secret Empire Brave New World #1 is the awkward reality of living in the "Stevil" world as the new Giant-Man battles Hydra in Denver, Namor talks to old friends and Gwenpool takes on a nightly news program. There's not enough of anything to bring this home (Giant Man was close) but it had some decent moments.

RELATED: Secret Empire: Brave New World Sets Up The Invaders’ Return

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

Nothing to see here, folks.


No bad books? That's good to see ...


Let's go on and call this a winner with the number of books that demanded a ride home combined with some regular purchases keeping up the good work.


The writer of this column writes two weekly web superhero comics: Menthu: The Anger of Angels and Project Wildfire: Street Justice -- free every week. Can't beat "free."

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 Project Wildfire: Enter Project Torrent (a collected superhero web comic), 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, Executive Assistant Iris Sourcebook #1 and Aspen Universe Sourcebook, 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!

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