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The Buy Pile: Brains Over Bluster

by  in CBR Exclusives, Comic News Comment
The Buy Pile: Brains Over Bluster


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 …


Unstoppable Wasp #1 (Marvel Comics)Jump from the Read Pile.

Nadia Pym is indefatigable. Like a super powered Energizer Bunny, she makes Kimmy Schmidt look like Debbie Downer and laps Squirrel Girl like she was Eeyore. She dives into heroism with a lust for life that’d have Iggy Pop giving a slow clap and her infectious enthusiasm and brilliance bursts out of every panel here. “Princeless” writer Jeremy Whitley has bottled lightning with this wonderfully balanced script that does great explanations (only once going a bit heavy handed, and even there in character), has solid action based on real world science and hits Bobbi Morse in a place she thought she couldn’t be touched. The visual presentation by Elsa Charretier, Megan Wilson and Joe Caramagna is vibrant in places, intimate in others and perfect all around. This, finally, is a hero we deserve.

"Batman" #14

What does the night hold for Bruce Wayne in “Batman” #14?

Batman #14 (DC Comics)Jump from the Read Pile.

This issue made the jump by honing in on what the Bat really does and has Catwoman both marveling at it and mocking it while a clock ticks. You see the craft Tom King puts into this work, and while from a conception standpoint the Sisyphean futility and ridiculous nature of many of these conflicts (Condiment King? Film Freak?) takes away some significance here, the craft stands up to scrutiny. Let’s also note the amazing visuals from Mitch Gerads and Clayton Cowles, which brought the Gotham City night alive.


With two endlessly re-readable jumps to start us off, that’s a rock solid start.


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

In this episode of “Making A Murderer,” er, “Justice League” #12 Amanda Waller uses several buckets full of exposition to give us the new, much more morally flexible, bwa-ha-ha free Maxwell Lord, outlining his rise to power and rationales behind it. Not bad as a Wiki entry, or something for one of those sourcebooks everybody refers to, but not exactly prime time viewing.

“Hawkeye” #2 is closing in on being good with fantastic characterization but can’t connect on its plot. Fun art, some fun moments (extra points if you catch the meme reference) but still falling short.

“Autumnlands” #14 had some quality moments as creations defied the goddess they credit with their making. The splash page may overly titilate some more prudish readers, but this book has the vocabulary of myth down pat. It could use a little more context for its impossible characters, but it’s not bad at all.

The “Meh” Pile Not good enough to praise, not bad enough to insult, they just kind of happened …
“Scarlet Witch” #14, “Aquaman” #14, “Star Trek Boldly Go” #4, “U.S.Avengers” #1, “Cyborg” #8, “Black Science” #27, “Death Of Hawkman” #4, “Optimus Prime” #2, “Moon Knight” #10, “Everafter From The Pages Of Fables” #5, “Nailbiter” #28, “Flintstones” #7, “Avengers” #3, “G.I. JOE A Real American Hero” #235, “Unfollow” #15, “Saga” #41, “Green Arrow” #14, “Champions” #4, “Big Trouble In Little China Escape From New York” #4, “Unworthy Thor” #3, “Green Lanterns” #14, “Walking Dead” #162, “Spider-Man 2099” #19, “Harley Quinn” #11, “Box Office Poison Color Comics” #1, “Squarriors Volume 2 Summer” #2, “Wicked + The Divine” #25, “Justice League Of America The Atom Rebirth” #1, “Jem And The Holograms” #22, “Justice League Vs Suicide Squad” #3, “A&A The Adventures Of Archer And Armstrong” #11, “Nova” #2, “Midnighter And Apollo” #4, “Ragnarok” #11, “Nightwing” #12, “Deadpool The Duck” #1, “Faith” #7, “Shade The Changing Girl” #4, “Wynonna Earp Legends Doc Holliday” #2, “Superman” #14, “Old Man Logan” #16.

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

“Captain America Sam Wilson” #17 was insulting in its ham-fisted fumbling around social justice buzzwords and complex issues of racial identity, micro-agresssions and the experiences of marginalized people in the country. Also, again, most of the book had the titular character not actually doing anything or having any effect on what happened. Give Misty the shield. Let’s stop this tedious exercise.


One bad apple can’t throw off the whole bunch.


Two jumps make the first week of 2017 a certified winner and well worth it for fans of the art form.


Did you get the first official newsletter from the Operative Network? There was a free comic book (written by the maker of this column) offered from the newsletter and a chance to win a custom sketch worth $45 as well as the “Soulfire Definitive Edition” volume one hardcover. If you subscribe now, you can get in on what’s coming in the January edition.

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 “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!

the buy pile
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