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Funeral for an Autobot

by  in CBR Exclusives Comment
Funeral for an Autobot

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 27, 2015

Transformers More Than Meets The Eye #41

(IDW Publishing)

If you’ve never read this series before, you might very easily get lost. You’ll need a decent bit of data opening the cover: in order to find the lost Knights of Cybertron, prototypical Transformers from virtual prehistory, a ship full of extraordinarily strange mechanoids set off at the conclusion of the war between Autobots and Decepticons. Okay, that’s where you start. When you dig into the meat of what’s happening here — a set of mysteries surrounding the final days of Thunderclash, reputed to be the “greatest Autobot — you’ll dig into interpersonal relationships between 50 foot tall robots, a murder mystery, opinions on “Community” season four, convenient coincidences and a dance off. Really. Writer James Roberts weaves together wildly disparate characters and elements into a plot that’s like a symphony — if you understand the musical genre, to play out the metaphor. The visuals provided by Alex Milne, Joana LaFuente, Tom B. Long and Chris Mowry aptly mix the absurd and intimate moments here (Cyclonus near the dance floor is perfect) and this issue very heavily rewards regular readers. If you’re new, maybe transforming and rolling out for some back issues might help, but much like “Community,” if you’re in for the long haul (not the Constructicon, different book), this is fantastic work.

WHAT’S THE PROGNOSIS?

In all of the goodness of being all good, it’s actually all good. Yeah!

THIS WEEK’S READ PILE

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

“S.H.I.E.L.D.” #6 had some clever moments as Dormammu takes down most of the people who would be able to fight him in a bid for inter-dimensional dominance. However, despite a very clever agent with a … condition and some fantastic Coulson moments, this issue was kind of by-the-numbers in terms of plot, with none of the nail-biting stakes of the show. Not bad, but not quite enough this month.

“Infinite Loop” #2 had some good characterization as the two leads experienced tangible romantic tension, but the plot wandered a lot and the arguable antagonists were unidimensional.

“Convergence Blue Beetle” #2 may have been one of the best Ted Kord showings in memory, and surely the best without Booster Gold around. Here, alongside a less shiny version of Captain Atom and a quixotic Question, he has to face down what looks like the Waid/Kitson Reboot Period Legion of Super-Heroes, which included a Kryptonian class (Andromeda), three mega minds (the original Invisible Kid, Brainiac and Computo) and an illusionist snake. In the words of the Question, “this is already lasting about five minutes longer than I thought it would,” as the Legionnaires vaunted teamwork doesn’t immediately overcome the Silver Age trio in a fight that’s not so convincing, but every second Ted Kord is on panel is worth seeing. Unbalanced, but not without merit.

“Material” #1 is awkward and scary and intriguing and fascinating all at once. Invoking the ghosts of the unfairly slain and the spectre of threats to come, there isn’t much of a plot but there are so many gut punch elements, teasing the grimmest thoughts hiding in the cultural zeitgeist. It’s not easy to read, but it’s zooming in on many of the important discussions society keeps avoiding.

“M.O.D.O.K. Assassin” #1 does live up to its name, as the titular character is in fact designed only for killing. He does so in a fairly whimsical way, working under the arguable protection of Baron Mordo (every “domain” of the new continuity “Battleworld” is ruled by a “Baron,” so Mordo is convenient) and it’s a domain without heroes, only danger. Not much of a plot, but dammit if that kooky bastard M.O.D.O.K isn’t fun to watch.

The “Meh” Pile Not good enough to praise, not bad enough to insult, not important enough to say much more than the title

“Sex” #21, “Convergence” #8, “Deadly Class” #13, “Iron Fist The Living Weapon” #12, “Swords Of Sorrow Masquerade And Kato Special” #1, “Secret Wars 2099” #1, “Convergence World’s Finest Comics” #2, “Nova” #31, “Invincible” #120, “Divinity” #4, “Suiciders” #4, “Life After” #10, “Convergence Shazam” #2, “Old Man Logan” #1, “Captain Midnight” #23, “Inhumans Attilan Rising” #1, “Black Hood” #4, “Outcast By Kirkman And Azaceta” #9, “Convergence Plastic Man And The Freedom Fighters” #2, “King Flash Gordon” #4, “Secret Wars Journal” #1, “Indestructible Stingray” #1, “Convergence Justice Society Of America” #2, “Sabrina” #3, “Kids Of The Round Table” #1, “Sons Of The Devil” #1, “Convergence Infinity Inc” #2, “Nutmeg” #3, “Red Sonja” #16, “Convergence Action Comics” #2, “Chew” #49, “Surface Tension” #1, “They’re Not Like Us” #6, “Convergence Detective Comics” #2, “Infinity Gauntlet” #1, “Tomb Raider” #16, “Inferno” #1, “He-Man The Eternity War” #6, “King Prince Valiant” #2, “Convergence Crime Syndicate” #2, “Ragnarok” #5, “God Is Dead” #36, “Black Widow” #18, “Convergence Booster Gold” #2, “All-New Hawkeye” #3.

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

… cool, nothing was all that bad.

SO, HOW BAD WAS IT?

Any week where nothing is awful is a good sign, even with the volume of “meh” herein.

WINNERS AND LOSERS

Inexpensive but effective this week as even some of the ambitious attempts tried hard to traverse important ground.

THE BUSINESS

Please say you saw the fresh new trailer for the wholly independent animated series “T.A.S.K.” You haven’t? You should click through. You’ll be grateful you did.

As of right now, you can spend ten bucks and get about 175,000 words worth of fiction from the writer of this column. The links that follow tell you where 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, or “Fathom Sourcebook” #1 and “Soulfire Sourcebook” #1, the official guide to the Aspen Comics franchises. Too rich for your blood? Download the free PDF of “Cruel Summer: The Visual Mixtape.” 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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the buy pile
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