Every week Hannibal Tabu (winner of the 2012 Top Cow Talent Hunt/2018-2019 City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs Cultural Trailblazer/blogger/novelist/poet/jackass on Twitter/head honcho of Komplicated) takes on between seven to thirteen reviews (or so) to share his opinions with you. Thursday afternoons you'll be able to get those thoughts (and they're just the opinions of one guy, so calm down) about all of that ... which goes something like this ...
THE BUY PILE FOR SEPT. 25, 2019
Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #47 (Marvel Comics)
Jump from the Read Pile. In a triumphant showing, Lunella Lafayette and Reed Richards have a big-brain showdown. The titular heroine brings one thing to the contest that Reed can't comprehend, one thing she has often lacked in her own title but has in abundance here: swagger. Subtly rejecting the colonization of her space and ideas, she exasperates and befuddles the entire Fantastic Four while showing a mastery of pretty much anything she encounters. Writer Brandon Montclare really nailed everything this issue needed to be (even down to a certain bombastic cadence of speech) while the visual storytelling from Alitha B. Martinez, Tamra Bonvillain and Travis Lanham made even mundane moments fantastic. RATING: BUY.
Super! #7 (Unlikely Heroes Studios)
First an apology -- this book actually came out Sept. 11, and has been sitting in the Buy Pile email box. That's no indication of its quality, because this is a hoot. A second-rate team of superheroes returns from a supernatural jaunt to find their city overrun with horrors. Along the way, they make some friends (sort of) and face a fairly well-defined, if somewhat (intentionally) ridiculous adversary. From pop culture references to breathtaking artwork to actually relevant philosophical realizations from characters, this book has everything going for it. The script and pencils from Zack Dolan, who recently passed away after a lengthy illness, are truly remarkable (wait for that one panel revealing the underground edifice, for example, or the impact of the speech at the end). Laurie Foster, Eve Orozco and Erek Foster join in to polish up the already-breathtaking visuals and hilarious storytelling. If this, in fact, is to be a parting shot from a truly gifted talent, we're lucky to have it. RATING: BUY.
Wolverine Annual #1 was a creepy, if inconclusive, look into Logan's history in the heady days of young Hollywood. From a certain point of view, it's a harebrained scheme with a meaner, more mercenary tint to it than many other stories, but its hidden implication that the titular mutant is often more threat than savior can't be denied. RATING: HONORABLE MENTION.
Angel #5 had a great reintroduction of fan favorite Gunn, who fits wonderfully in a more modernized mythos. The rest of the book was a little slow, and didn't live up to the beginning. RATING: HONORABLE MENTION.
Harleen #1 is the first step toward a horrifying tragedy, like watching the first half hour of Fruitvale Station while knowing how it all ends up. The self-reflective look at the first lady of Gotham criminals is nuanced, detailed, well referenced and in its way unavoidable, like a car wreck. That's not exactly entertaining, unless you like watching train cars plummet helplessly off a broken bridge, but it surely shows you how the disaster happened. RATING: HONORABLE MENTION.
The White Trees #2 has some fantasy action scenes that are absolutely breathtaking. Really, look at the elegance, the balance of the blades, the precision of the footwork. Visually, this is a master class in depicting pre-firearms melee combat. The characterization isn't quite as rich and robust, but the bittersweet poignancy to the conclusion is not bad. RATING: HONORABLE MENTION.
Batgirl #39 covers a lot of ground but does so inconclusively. Here's Barbara Gordon reconnecting with her wheelchair-bound days as Oracle. Here's Barbara pounding the pavement for a politician, connecting with the people of Burnside and fleshing out that part of the world. Here's Barbara in a hamfisted romantic interlude. No, wait, here's Barbara struggling with the fallout of the storyline in Justice League. Wait, no here's a new villain plotting all the while. Pick any two and they could have been fleshed out into a single story, but as they stand this is a mash up with too many tracks that reaches for greatness but falls short. RATING: HONORABLE MENTION.
Star Wars: Age of Resistance - Kylo Ren #1 has another impressive showing of Force powers from the last of the Skywalker line, but plays up the weaknesses in his character without emphasizing the strengths. Everything he does for the view of other people diminishes him, which combined with a less-than-impressive look at what should have been an epic battle made this issue miss the mark. RATING: HONORABLE MENTION.
Powers of X #5 had a panel that breathtakingly encapsulates Namor but otherwise just acted as an info dump, synthesizing wild concepts from around the Marvel universe and presenting a hierarchy of ideas for stories instead of being a story itself. Admittedly, it gives you something to talk about ... RATING: MEH.
SFSX Safe Sex #1 sought to be a counter-cultural stand against the dangers of religious conservatism in public life. However, after The Handmaid's Tale or even label mate Sex Criminals (which clearly paved the way for this book), the flat characterization and washed out coloring leave this as indistinctive as the flavorless fascists it seeks to decry. Not bad, but not exactly elevating the conversation, either tactically or philosophically. RATING: MEH.
Action Comics #1015 did a decent job of introducing a new metahuman to the community of concern but didn't tell much of a story along the way. The character work and production values are top notch, but the plotting ... not so much. RATING: MEH.
Avant-Guards #8 felt like the middle section of a character arc with lots of great development about who people are but little about what they're doing. The in-book treatment of the basketball game was a deficit, as it could have been a chance for character and plot development given the last two pages. This wasn't bad at all, but it didn't have room to get really good either. RATING: MEH.
The New Mutants: War Children #1 posits the idea that to save someone from your inevitable future, they all must die. Hh. RATING: NO. JUST ... NO.
WHAT'S THE PROGNOSIS?
One bad book can't bring down two great showings from unexpected corners, so let's say things went well this week.
This weekend you can see this columnist moderate a panel featuring a TV producer who worked on Krypton, a Grammy-winning rapper and the creator of the Guardians of the Galaxy ride at BSAM-LA.
Have you checked out season four of the free web comic Project Wildfire: The Once and Future King? While you can, read the whole thing for the best possible price: "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 Scoundrel (historical fiction set in 1981 east Los Angeles), Irrational Numbers: Addition (a supernatural historical fiction saga with vampires), 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 to try and review the work, 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!