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 20, 2016
Phonogram The Immaterial Girl #6
This issue is wonderful and confusing and horrifying all at once, with a sharp turn from the more obscure tunes this series has used like shuriken into the biggest elements of western zeitgeist. There are a number of "wow" moments that should shake the reader to the core, and the musical quotes are like fragmentation grenades. One could say the denouement was a bit too long, or that the short story at the end was a touch too meta for its own good, but the core of the work, the transformation of Emily Aster as the arguable titular lead ... simply remarkable. Challenging, intellectual material that rewards and satisfies.
Astro City #31
Good to see this back in action, as plots from previous issues tie back together. Using a very clever framing device, writer Kurt Busiek takes what could have been a cliched story about a monster under the control of a madman in a more redemptive direction. A fun and clever story that is done incredibly well, to go into its details would spoil its wonderful twists.
G.I. JOE A Real American Hero #224
Jump from the Read Pile.
When people are really good at their job and struggle against other people who are very good at their job, it escalates their challenge as they go. The G.I. Joe team is counting their blessings that they only had two minor casualties in taking down an elaborate plot from Cobra's Crimson Guard to execute three major terrorist attacks. That, of course, was all an elaborate ruse to hide the real goal: Destro and many former Cobra allies have been left out in the cold and want to take down Cobra Commander, which leads them into some very interesting situations. This is another great case of a Xanatos gambit that played out like the Battle of Cannae and writer Larry Hama has this seris really humming plot wise and the clear visual storytelling of S.L. Gallant, Derek Fridolfs, J. Brown and Neil Uyetake helped to make this crystal clear. The surprising character work on Duke was as effective as the clear and entertaining villainy of the Commander. Even better than the last issue, and tons of fun.
WHAT'S THE PROGNOSIS?
Super entertaining start to the week.
THIS WEEK'S READ PILE
Honorable Mentions: Stuff worth noting, even if it's not good enough to buy
"Captain Marvel" #1 has a lot of solid points as its lead takes over for Abigail Brand as the point person against alien invasions, using Alpha Flight's Aurora, Sasquatch and Puck as fighter pilots (sure, why not?) while balancing the tedium of administering a space station (shades of Lando) and the excitement of spaceborne adventures (a dash of Buck Rogers) to properly deliver the Carol Danvers charisma that gets the point across. There's a great set up but not much of a story as the title leans more towards dashing than humorous but can't seem to find its footing. It does, however. encourage looking in down the road to see if things get better.
"Patsy Walker A.K.A. Hellcat" #2 had a number of rock solid laughs but not much of a plot as it doesn't cover much ground and rehashes a number of elements from the previous issue. Good looking book that has some smiles, but not pulling it together as a story.
"Symmetry" #2 continues its interesting ideas but slows the pacing on the plot far too much while not upping the characterization level.
The "Meh" Pile Not good enough to praise, not bad enough to insult, not important enough to say much more than the title
"Silver Surfer" #1, "Red Thorn" #3, "Blacklist" #6, "Star Wars" #15, "Robin Son Of Batman" #8, "Pencil Head" #1, "Secret Six" #10, "Devolution" #1, "Sinestro" #19, "Wrath Of The Eternal Warrior" #3, "Superman Wonder Woman" #25, "Amazing Forest" #1, "Starbrand And Nightmask" #2, "Wonder Woman" #48, "Tokyo Ghost" #5, "Rook" #4, "Titans Hunt" #4, "Kingdom Bum" #2, "Star-Lord" #3, "Poison Ivy Cycle Of Life And Death" #1, "Wayward" #13, "Uncanny Inhumans" #4, "Martian Manhunter" #8, "Imperium" #12, "Uncanny X-Men" #2, "Lucifer" #2, "New Avengers" #5, "Transformers" #49, "Harley Quinn" #24, "Buffy The Vampire Slayer Season 10" #23, "Doctor Fate" #8, "Postal" #9, "Ms. Marvel" #3, "Batman Arkham Knight Genesis" #6, "Looking For Group" #10, "Hercules" #3, "Batman And Robin Eternal" #16, "Legacy Of Luther Strode" #4, "Drax" #3, "Batman" #48, "Man Plus" #1, "Deadpool" #6, "Batgirl" #47, "Astonishing Ant-Man" #4.
No, just ... no ... These comics? Not so much ...
Nothing that bad happened this week.
SO, HOW BAD WAS IT?
Nothing really went wrong, which is a good thing.
WINNERS AND LOSERS
Jumps plus nothing bad makes this a fantastic birthday for the columnist in question.
Next Wednesday, pick up "Executive Assistant Iris Sourcebook" #1 from Aspen Comics, written by this columnist.
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 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!