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 SEPTEMBER 16, 2015
Star Wars: Lando #4
While still being entertaining, this issue loses a step as the Emperor's mystery enforcer would have benefitted from staying an enigma and Lando does some monologuing intended to explore his character but instead falling flat. The moody artwork from Alex Maleev, Paul Mounts and VC's Joe Caramagna still does a good job of depicting the somber, claustrophobic areas of the Emperor's private space yacht, but Charles Soule's plot spins its wheels a bit. After three pitch perfect issues, guaranteeing its purchase, maybe it was due. We'll see if things pick up.
Tokyo Ghost #1
Jump from the Read Pile.
If you take the technopunk horror of "Transmetropolitan" and angled the camera past the presidential politics and treatises on journalism, you'd find a world much like this enticing treatment from Rick Remender, Sean Murphy, Matt Hollingsworth and Rus Wooton. The world is filled with screen addicted weirdos and delusional body-modders, but they're mostly too pathetic to protect themselves from the predators -- digital and physical -- who live to prey upon them. Enter two post apocalyptic law enforcers inverting the Panda and Clownface relationship from "Body Baggers" and sharing a bittersweet love story familiar to every person who went to bed while a glowing screen illuminated the face of the one they chose. Toss in a video game-themed villain dubbing himself "the Jesus of murder" and you've got a surprisingly effective balance of characterization, breakneck plotting, slick and savvy visuals and a plot that posits Mojoworld gone ... well, kind of the only way it could go. Fatalistic sci-fi with a poignant thread of hope woven in, this could be Remender's tightest work since early "Fear Agent." More, please.
WHAT'S THE PROGNOSIS?
Lando wasn't bad, but that "Tokyo Ghost," though. Nothing like something new to encourage.
THIS WEEK'S READ PILE
Honorable Mentions: Stuff worth noting, even if it's not good enough to buy
"Secret Six" #6 had some EXTREMELY strong moments, with Catman and Strix in particular, but had a very weak ending that unraveled the issue's good works. All the series' mysteries have been solved, essentially, but it's not a resolution that satisfies and certain characters are still getting skimmed over. Only its rationale for keeping the team together entices, so let's see if things improve next issue.
The first installment of "Rook," a kind of Rip Hunter riff, gave "Dark Horse Presents" #14 a decent start, plus the creepy "Semi-Automagic" will leave some scars on your psyche. The rest was a bit of a wash, but if you like anthologies and things that go bump in the night, this is a solid choice.
"Bizarro" #4 almost had a genuine moment of emotional connection and almost had a plot involving Zatanna's magic (and it may be a wholly new idea, Twitter will surely correct if not) that was kind of creative. It all settled back into facile sight gags and silliness soon enough, but this was almost something, for a few panels. Almost.
"Star Wars" #9 proves that early on, Luke Skywalker was a screw up -- which isn't exactly news. It shows Han Solo is only half as effective with women as he thinks -- also not news. It teaches us Chewbacca is as loyal as he is dangerous ... which you already knew. Playing familiar notes in a slightly different arrangement, this is cute but not even as gripping as the kid-skewed "Star Wars: Rebels."
"Star Trek" #49 had a paper thin plot and a conclusion so contrived and wrong-headedly condescending that Matt Damon could have come up with it. Sulu leads his first away mission and follows every piece of the Kirk Protocols -- shoot first, think later -- in a simplistic story exercise that was too facile to be entertaining, to vague to engage and just good looking enough to merit not being meh.
"Doomed" #4 had effective art about a largely empty plot, but there's a scene in here with Wonder Girl that kind of works, even though it's just talking after all the punching, but it meant something for both characters. That was refreshing. The rest of the book, including its plot and the ending, you could forget about.
It seems the only constant in the exciting life of Peggy Carter is being underestimated by the lugheaded men around her, and "Agent Carter S.H.I.E.L.D. 50th Anniversary" #1 continues that troubling tradition. A surprising guest star (unless you like TV) arrives to help Peggy in ways that she might not have expected. It's a cute story but one that drags due to it's essentially pointless premise.
The "Meh" Pile Not good enough to praise, not bad enough to insult, not important enough to say much more than the title
"UFOlogy" #5, "Black Canary" #4, "House Of M" #3, "Ivar Timewalker" #9, "Constantine The Hellblazer" #4, "Island" #3, "Jem And The Holograms" #7, "Dr. Fate" #4, "Rai" #10, "Captain America White" #1, "Green Lantern The Lost Army" #4, "Awake" #1, "Harley Quinn" #20, "Spider-Island" #4, "D4VE2" #1, "Martian Manhunter" #4, "Big Trouble In Little China" #16, "Guardians Of Knowhere" #4, "Prez" #4, "Will Eisner's The Spirit" #3, "Age Of Apocalypse" #4, "Robin Son Of Batman" #4, "Nutmeg" #4, "Voltron From The Ashes" #1, "Escape From New York" #10, "Spider-Verse" #5, "Looking For Group" #6, "Princeless Raven The Pirate Princess" #3, "Infinity Gauntlet" #4, "Auteur Sister Bambi" #4, "Paybacks" #1, "Fiction" #4, "Groo Friends And Foes" #9, "Wonder Woman" #44, "Bloodshot Reborn" #6, "Superman Wonder Woman" #21, "Secret Wars Journal" #5, "Fade Out" #9, "Sex Criminals" #12, "Armor Wars" #5.
No, just ... no ... These comics? Not so much ...
"All-New Hawkeye #5" was baffling in showing Clint Barton make an inexplicable choice, spends a lot of time in a flashback to try and unsuccessfully justify its current storyline and does so with washed out coloring and indistinct backgrounds. Disappointing.
"Invincible" #123 is either completely unimportant, making the pages of sturm un drang a waste of time and money, or its led to the single worst idea to ever enter this series. So it's either an annoyance or a travesty. That's ... that's all bad. Slow build up for a very, very disquieting ending.
SO, HOW BAD WAS IT?
It was kind of a struggle getting through things this week ...
WINNERS AND LOSERS
Despite the very interesting comic that made the jump, "Lando" underperforming and two bad books made this week go into the "L" column.
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!