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The Buy Pile: The Best Issue of Squirrel Girl, Ever

Sword Of Ages #3 had gorgeous fantasy artwork and some interesting ideas about cultures and rules under divine systems. If it had taken some time to better flesh out its characters and explain the arcana under which the narrative rules operated, it would have been even better. RATING: HONORABLE MENTION.

Domino #1 was quite close to making the mark, establishing a cast and a status quo that's sustainable. The ghost like antagonist, however, was a deficit in that unclear motivations made it less than inspiring of a conflict. Likely still finding its footing, let's see if this can pick up the pace next issue. RATING: HONORABLE MENTION.

The same way that Avengers sought swelling music and slow camera pans upwards, Flash #44 tries to catch some of that old time religion of teamwork and gumption. Unfortunately, Gorilla Grodd is a bland and soppy antagonist who ends up in an anticlimactic and unsatisfying fate. That creaky foundation makes all the lofty talk so much ephemera, drifting away in the wisps of fleet footed afterdrafts. RATING: MEH.

RELATED: Gorilla Grodd Unleashes [SPOILER] on The New Flash Family in The Flash #43

There must be something in the air, because everything that Avengers and The Flash tried to do, Captain America #700 cranks up to "Ride of the Valkyries level. There's an almost elegant bit connecting "could have been" timelines, but all of the sturm und drang falks flat at the end. Gorgeous and jingoistic, but ultimately sizzle without steak. RATING: HONORABLE MENTION.

Immortal Men #1 has some intriguing turns of phrase and the kernel of an idea that could be a "thing," but it's too vague by a factor of at least two, has too many characters doing too little and a cipher-styled centerpiece that's all gaping surprise and nowhere near enough actual value to the narrative. RATING: MEH.

Darth Vader #14 has plenty of that old Imperial-era charm as an assault on water planet Mon Cala (which delicately echoes events of the ongoing Star Wars series in a ring theory kind of way) shows a lot of history but not quite enough of the title character. As he swings through with a crew of Sith Inquisitors (not the cool ones from Rebels, ones farther down the line) to hunt, we see a secret collection of Jedis hiding and advising the Mon Cala government. There are precious few moments where the story belongs to Vader and isn't his effect being discussed (which can work, but is hard to pull off). Not bad at all, but not exactly balanced enough to hit the mark. RATING: HONORABLE MENTION.

Like the other Star Wars book out this week, Thrawn #3 spends precious little time with its titular character, instead focusing on the unctuous Arihnda Pryce, the Nick Cannon of the Empire whose ambition grossly outstrips her talent. She's the focal point of this and, as such, is barely worth watching as she stumbled into becoming a useful tool for Thrawn, drifting in and out of competency like a badly painted lane on the freeway. Shame, this mini was really showing up before this point. RATING: MEH.

Gorgeously depicted but completely devoid of characterization, Grimm Fairy Tales Presents Grimm Tales of Terror Volume 4 #1 is a rice crisp in the middle of a gourmet dinner. The arguable lead has zero characterization, the arguable antagonists are cliches and stereotypes and the plot is like a paint-by-numbers bit that's easy to forget. It really does look good, for all its needless cheesecake, but it's not worth the price of admission. RATING: NO. JUST ... NO.

Trinity #21 takes Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman to the magical otherdimensional world of Skartaris, brings in the character Warlord in and ... nothing. There's very little change from page one to the last page. The plot is a paper tiger, which is a missed opportunity for this collection of characters. RATING: NO. JUST ... NO.

WHAT'S THE PROGNOSIS?

Two stinkers take down even the heights of Doreen Green, so the week runs out of gas much more quickly than it should have.

THE BUSINESS

The writer of this column writes a weekly web superhero comic -- 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 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!

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