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 MAY 31, 2017
Occupy Avengers #7 (Marvel Comics)
This issue is both hilarious and messy as Skrulls have a bit of a disagreement in the manure capital of the world while Hawkeye, Red Wolf and the inimitable Tilda Johnson wait on the most interesting van repair ever. Writer David Walker delivers a whimsical, action-packed tale that pulls in the reader and makes every moment tense thanks to the creativity of Gabriel Hernandez Walta, Jordie Bellaire and Clayton Cowles. With the great quips from Tilda to the intensity and certainty of Red Wolf, this issue connects in the way you wished Red Hood and the Outlaws would.
Romulus #4 (Image Comics)
Again, wow. This issue pits a woman of remarkable focus against a globe-spanning organization that claims a hand in the spread of bubonic plague, the fall of Rome and the atomic bombs that ended World War 2. That's the opening act as Bryan Edward Hill, Nelson Blake the 2nd, Kevin Lennertz and Deron Bennett turn in an intense, powerful and engaging issue that plays extremely well. In particular, the combat scenes were choice and the dialogue was entertaining. Another fantastic turn from a book that deserves its spot here.
Transformers Till All Are One #10 (IDW Publishing)
Jump from the Read Pile. Normally, this series doesn't give you enough information to connect with the plot and the characters, but this month everything's just right. Starscream needs something dangerous, and since he's the basis of many cliches he has an elaborate scheme that involves what could best be called "shenanigans." Writer Mairghread Scott does well here focusing on the Seeker's character as the root of all deceptions and the labyrinthine slippery slopes that creates around him for an exiled schemer, a lovesick space shuttle and the memory of a dead Autobot. The artwork from Sara Pitre-Durocher, Joana LaFuente and Tom B. Long is great with facial expressions and perfect coloring in bringing you into the story. This is a very sneaky, very enjoyable story and it's just about perfect.
Doctor Who The Ninth Doctor #13 (Titan Comics)
Jump from the Read Pile. This issue focuses on Captain Jack Harkness and some of the roots behind his devil-may-care attitude. This tracks a good bit of his career as a Time Agent and has a wonderful narrative spin that brings in the Doctor and Rose Tyler. Writer Cavan Scott uses the conceit of time travel with great deftness in this script, while the art team of Cris Bolson, Marko Lesko, Jimmy Betancourt and the legendary Richard Starkings make the issue really pop with crisp lines, clear coloring and effective storytelling. Super enjoyable.
Spencer And Locke #2 (Danger Zone/Action Lab Entertainment)
Jump from the Read Pile. Whoa. The last third of this issue will yank you to the edge of your seat and will not let you rest as a stuffed tiger takes the wheel during a high speed car chase with gunfire. Really! Casting a world of strip clubs and juvenile abuse through the eyes of Bill Watterson is both weird and refreshing, like the mental dissonance you feel reading Afterlife with Archie. Writer David Pepose perfectly balances the two disparate energies in the script while the visual team of Jorge Santiago Jr., Jasen Smith and Colin Bell work amazingly in multiple art styles. This book is not at all what you expect, and that's just what you need.
WHAT'S THE PROGNOSIS?
Sooooo good this week.
THIS WEEK'S READ PILE
Honorable Mentions: Stuff worth noting, even if it's not good enough to buy
Secret Empire Uprising #1 was a creepy tale of counterinsurgency, featuring two young heroes going undercover in the fascist underbelly of the new regime created by "Stevil." It wasn't at all bad, but it could leave you ... uncomfortable in the final analysis at how easily Amadeus Cho -- one of the nine finest minds in the Marvel universe -- became subsumed by the seductions of fascism. Surely there will be think pieces on this, and if that's your kind of itch to be scratched, this issue will likely be what you're looking for.
Wonder Woman Annual #1 focuses on her power, her kindness and her intelligence but, in a bevy of forgettable stories, doesn't give her an antagonist worth measuring up against.
Deadpool Vs The Punisher #4 had some interesting moments and a fantastic fight sequence with Taskmaster but didn't carry much weight in its plot.
Judge Dredd The Blessed Earth #2 is a horror show, a post-post-apocalpytic nightmare of chaos and murder with the thinnest hope of order. While it has its share of enjoyable moments, they didn't coalesce into a coherent plot, especially given the thin characterization on most of the players here.
Star Wars Doctor Aphra #7 was a mixed bag as Leia struggled with the realities of being a war leader, Luke virtually swims in naivete and Triple Zero again steals the scene every time he is on panel. The not-so-good doctor herself is a complex character but the plot is all over the place. Perhaps collected, this "Screaming Citadel" will play more effectively.
The "Meh" Pile Not good enough to praise, not bad enough to insult, they just kind of happened ...
Okay ... we're not gonna do this anymore. Due to personal issues in the columnist's life, the work associated with this -- the most voluminous amount of the column -- has to be removed from the work. If you don't see a title, either it wasn't available, it wasn't read ... or it wasn't memorable enough to merit more writing. We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience therein.
No, just ... no ... These comics? Not so much ...
Secret Empire #3 has a last page reveal that will infuriate some fans of moral absolutism and be seen as strangely fitting by others. This is all by design -- plotting for titilation value, as evidenced by the absolute lack of lead up. The weird dream sequence alternate bit is seemingly just frippery. Oddly enough only a talking animal makes sense and that's a sure sign the wheels are off. Go home, Secret Empire. You're drunk.
SO, HOW BAD WAS IT?
Things went better than worse, so ...
WINNERS AND LOSERS
The mountain of jumps as well as only one book actually being really, truly bad makes this week a winner.
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!