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 JANUARY 21, 2015
Loki Agent Of Asgard #10
Jump from the Read Pile.
Wow. You will need a hint of grounding in previous material (hearkening back to the atom bomb ending of the last volume of "Journey Into Mystery") to get the gut punch that happens in this issue, but ... whoa. Loki and the Odinson (there's a woman called Thor these days, can't be two) have a little guilt and residual drama left over from having their core natures reversed. This led to some apologies that made for a set of emotional twists and turns that are remarkable. Writer Al Ewing wrings the reader out like a damp washcloth with this one, delivering a script that shocks with sudden bursts of action that Lee Garbett and Nolan Woodard delivered with frightening effectiveness. Maybe not for neophytes, but this issue is a deep continuity masterpiece. Wow.
Ivar Timewalker #1
Jump from the Read Pile.
Take one part "Doctor Who" and one part James Bond (Connery or Craig) then mix in a dash of James Cameron time travel theory and you might find yourself with something like this engaging cross-temporal romp with a last page taken from the Giffen/DeMatteis School of Twist Endings. Crisp, authoritative artwork from Clayton Henry and Brian Reber that make Fred Van Lente's playful script shimmy and dance like its favorite song was playing. Fun, clever, interesting ... what's not to like?
WHAT'S THE PROGNOSIS?
Very clever, engaging and emotional stuff to start off the week.
THIS WEEK'S READ PILE
Honorable Mentions: Stuff worth noting, even if it's not good enough to buy
If "All-New X-Factor" #20 didn't cut itself off as one of the most interesting story developments in years popped up, it might have made it home. The last third of this book is like Pacino's monologuing at the end of "Devil's Advocate," with Spider-Man 2099 finding out some things he didn't like and tied into his own days of future past. Deep continuity stuff that's a delight for anyone who knows what M.M.M.S. or F.O.O.M. stand for, but it's not very open for passing travelers.
"Millennium" #1 is a creepy crossover of 1990s television favorites as Fox Mulder and Frank Black trade one liners while a convicted serial killer with supernatural leanings teeters on the edge of parole. If you're nostalgic and loved either this property of the Chris Carter crown jewel, this will feel like going home, and fans of horror will also likely find this engaging. It does heavily lean on pre-knowledge, which is a deficit, and the threat doesn't stand up and say "here's something new," but it's not bad.
Just when "Reyn" #1 felt like it was warming up to be something, it cut itself short like this week's issue of "All-New X-Factor." A warrior from an ancient and thought-extinct order of peacekeepers stumbles into trouble and seeks council with his higher power for respites from a life of conflict. Along comes a healer warrior woman wanted by the local constabulary for heresy or something and a team up is born ... but it has all the development of a pick up game of "Dungeons and Dragons." Fantastic art, intriguing concepts for the paladin and the cleric but it hasn't exceeded the tropes just yet.
"Doctor Who The Eleventh Doctor" #7 had a couple of good moments when you could almost feel the Matt Smith whimsy whipping by you at breakneck speeds, but the companion Alice was a drag and the "mystery" of another expanding companion was tedious. Interesting ideas, a few okay moments, but not coming together ... kind of like most of Capaldi's first season.
"Black Widow" #14 had some fantastic action sequences as Natasha chainsaws her way through an investigation about a clandestine organization doing spirit knows what. Unfortunately, this played like ten minutes of a really good action adventure show, an episode of "Covert Affairs" you'd remember. Ten minutes worth of story wasn't enough to convey an actual plot, an actual narrative, so despite being fun, this didn't really get anywhere.
"Wicked + The Divine" #7 had a flyer design that DJs around the world will be stealing very, very soon, as well as a very funny recurring gag and a couple of genuine moments. A plot ... may have been asking too much. Gorgeous art, fun spectacle but not really much for fans of narrative.
The "Meh" Pile Not good enough to praise, not bad enough to insult, not important enough to say much more than the title
"Bucky Barnes The Winter Soldier" #4, "Invincible" #116, "Batman Superman" #18, "Transformers" #37, "Spider-Woman #3, "Earth 2 World's End" #16 "Superior Iron Man" #4, "G.I. JOE Snake Eyes Agent Of Cobra" #1, "Magneto" #14, "Trinity Of Sin" #4, "Powers" #1, "Burning Fields" #1, "Elektra" #10, "Supergirl" #38, "Captain America And The Mighty Avengers" #4, "Galaxy Quest The Journey Continues" #1, "Spider-Verse Team-Up" #3, "Batwoman" #38, "Red Sonja" #14, "Legendary Star-Lord" #8, "Transformers Punishment" #1, "Amazing Spider-Man" #13, "Teen Titans" #6, "Moon Knight" #11, "Captain Stone" #2, "Rocket Raccoon" #7, "Batman Eternal" #42, "Wolverines" #3, "Star Trek Planet Of The Apes" #2, "Fantastic Four" #642, "Green Lantern New Guardians" #38, "Scarlet Spiders" #3"Rocket Salvage" #2, "New 52 Futures End" #38, "Dungeons And Dragons Legends Of Baldur's Gate" #4, "Wonder Woman" #38, "13 Coins" #4, "Guardians Of The Galaxy" #23, "Justice League" #38, "All-New X-Men" #35, "Wild Blue Yonder" #6, "Batman And Robin" #38, "Deadpool's Art Of War #4.
No, just ... no ... These comics? Not so much ...
"Red Sonja The Black Tower" #4 was a weird time travel-tinted retcon of its previous issues with a kind of odd cognitive dissonance against what you expect from a Red Sonja story. Bad ideas executed well.
SO, HOW BAD WAS IT?
Just one actually bad book? That's almost like a vacation, cool ...
WINNERS AND LOSERS
With so little to actually offend, this isn't a bad sign either. Let's call the week a win thanks to those to jumps.
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, the official guide to the flagship franchise for Aspen Comics. 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!