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Living the Life in Astro City

by  in CBR Exclusives Comment
Living the Life in Astro City

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 JULY 15, 2015

Astro City #25

(Vertigo/DC Comics)

In the hip-hop community, there is a phrase for people uncommitted to their work: “You ain’t about that life.” For a young legacy heroine named Hummingbird, no one could question her dedication to adventure and heroism as she learns a lot about who she is and finds her way through it with implacable pluck. Kurt Busiek, Jesus Merino, John Roshell, Albert Deschesne, Jimmy Betancourt, Wendy Broom and Alex Sinclair distilled the simplest elements of sacrifice into this engaging done-in-one story and it’s a simple delight. Hummingbird is indeed about that life, and it’s a bittersweet joy to see.

WHAT’S THE PROGNOSIS?

An inexpensive start…

THIS WEEK’S READ PILE

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

“Secret Six” #4 had some chuckle worthy moments and an extraordinary degree of politeness (complete with pecan sandies) and some valuable life lessons, but was all bluster and scant characterization. Some old favorites appear, which was nice, but barely enough to make it worthwhile.

“Empty” #5 is intense, catching you up on a future that’s less than cheery. The plot and background data are rock solid, but only a couple of characters get any chance to reveal themselves. Interesting, and likely strong in a collection.

Years from now, when you wonder, “How did they get out of that whole Battleworld thing,” you’ll be able to point to “Silver Surfer” #13 as the escape clause, the impossibly big ideas to un-Doom everything. A little too fast moving for its own good, plot wise, but that Allred art is fun to look at.

“Letter 44” #18 had some compelling ideological and technological moments but had far too many characters in play and far too many things going on at once. Compelling, big ideas, just could use a smoother execution.

There’s a nice narrative trick near the end of “Siege” #1 that sets the stakes believably high, but it can’t make up for the first two thirds of the book meandering or counting on shorthand or Wikipedia to explain characters to you.

“Skullkickers” #33 was needlessly meta, endlessly violent and lightly ridiculous. Nothing bad there, but far from the cleverness this title has shown. Simple entertainment, but somewhat predictable.

“Ant-Man Annual” #1 had some cute spots and some dry spots, some poignant parts and some tedious parts. If you get one message here, it’s that Scott Lang is trying and if that ticks off another diversity point for Marvel without hiring anybody new, all the better.

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

“Invincible” #121, “King The Phantom” #4, “Mantle” #3, “Big Trouble In Little China” #13, “Years Of Future Past” #3, “Revival” #31, “Death Head” #1, “Secret Wars Battleworld” #3, “Reyn” #6, “Superman Wonder Woman” #19, “Planet Hulk” #3, “Mercury Heat” #1, “Secret Identities” #6, “Moon Knight” #17, “Robin Son Of Batman” #2, “Fiction” #2, “Korvac Saga” #2, “Trees” #11, “Martian Manhunter” #2, “Inhumans Attilan Rising” #3, “Groo Friends And Foes” #7, “Justice League” #42, “Hawkeye” #22, “Oh Killstrike” #3, “Harley Quinn” #18, “King Prince Valiant”, “Green Lantern The Lost Army” #2, “Hail Hydra” #1, “Godzilla In Hell” #1, “Guardians Of Knowhere” #1, “Dr. Fate” #2, “Swords Of Sorrow Vampirella Jennifer Blood” #3, “Doomed” #2, “Captain Marvel And The Carol Corps” #2, “Kaijumax” #4, “Black Canary” #2, “Armor Wars” #3,

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

Cool! Nothing sucked!

SO, HOW BAD WAS IT?

Nothing truly bad? That’s encouraging by itself.

WINNERS AND LOSERS

Inexpensive with no real problems? It’s a post-Nerdi Gras blessing.

THE BUSINESS

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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