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 JUNE 10, 2015
This issue didn’t take it slowly at ALL, as huge consequences occur, every plan goes sideways and virtually nobody finishes the issue the same as when they began. There’s a very… graphic scene that Fiona Staples’ artwork depicts in some detail, and yes, that may be a bit much for the squeamish crowd. However, if you’ve been following these characters, the story is a huge payoff for things that have brewed for months. Most of those developments are spoilers, but suffice it to say that this comic book means something for the story and it’s quite a page turner.
Long Distance” #1
Jump from the Read Pile.
Thom Zahler is one very skillful storyteller. Here, in the space of a normal sized comic, he introduces a virtually perfect romance story — yes, a romance comic, no capes, no explosions, et cetera — that fully fleshes out two protagonists and two supporting characters while doing passing jobs on a few more. The dialogue is effective and realistic, the visuals are stylized but consistent and very effective. This is rock solid comics in a genre that very rarely gets romance right.
WHAT’S THE PROGNOSIS?
Very nice work this week!
THIS WEEK’S READ PILE
Honorable Mentions: Stuff worth noting, even if it’s not good enough to buy
In “Marvel Zombies” #1, Elsa Bloodstone is a surly, yelling, obnoxious superpowered murderer with daddy issues that’d make Montana Fishburne cringe. She is, however, the only thing worth seeing here as the art is vague and unconvincing, the action is merely adequate, and the rest of the “characters” make Darko Milicic look like an MVP by comparison. Just a hair above “meh” on attitude alone.
“Lantern City” #2 is a beautifully rendered steampunk science fiction yarn about an oppressive regime and the plucky underdogs seeking to overthrow it and restore freedom to the people. Sound familiar? That’s because you’ve seen a similar shtick a hundred times. The richly conceived visual design, rock solid artwork and lush coloring help, but they can’t cover the basic dullness of the characters or the pedestrian dialogue. Ambitious, but perhaps beyond its own reach.
“Captain Marvel And The Carol Corps” #1 is a swashbuckling sci-fi story of derring do and lethal ladies. An all-female crew of combat pilots led by the super powered Carol Danvers, fighting against… well, nothing of much consequence actually. Their biggest challenge is struggling with heresy, and that’s where the book falls down, taking the religion of Doom — still in its fictional infancy, less than five months old — as an immutable element, shortcutting the heavy lifting of making it real for the reader. As such, the heresy seems logical, the faith naive and the core struggle unimportant. Hell of a good looking book, though, with some great character development.
“Doctor Who The Tenth Doctor” #11 has an interesting auction and an item that should not be on earth, but the interesting stuff with this issue, including a competent shade-of-gray character, are overshadowed by a tedious subplot about the current companion and her needy, tepid friend. That ending, though…
“Injection” #2 has so many beautiful moments of dialogue and mayhem, but the skeleton of narrative that strings it all together is patchy and inconsistent. Beautiful, brave comics work, but not whole and not clear.
There’s only one real love letter and official goodbye to the 616 universe, and it’s “Captain America And The Mighty Avengers” #9. It has an ending that’s pitch perfect, tons of gripping character moments and real emotional heft. As for plot, well… it’s stuck very deep in the crossover and it’s deep in the weeds unless you’ve read almost everything. Not bad, but not for anyone who wasn’t reading everything already.
If you liked the now-cancelled NBC show (and with Matt Ryan as a charismatic lead, only the pokey plots would stop you), you’ll probably like “Constantine: The Hellblazer” #1. A bit rough around the edges visually, it has a lot of great elements to recommend: a cocksure scoundrel protagonist, a recognizable yet somewhat clever play on socio-religious tropes and sex inna back room (a little more than a PG crowd should see, but not much more graphic than a nighttime soap opera). However, like its ill-fated televised incarnation, the other characters were stiffs (okay, admittedly, Chas on TV had some nuance, but no one here had that kind of room to develop) and getting to the point was laborious. Not bad, and engaging enough, but not a work of greatness.
The “Meh” Pile Not good enough to praise, not bad enough to insult, not important enough to say much more than the title
“Secret Wars 2099” #2, “Harvester” #5, “Silver Surfer” #12, “Chrononauts” #4, “Mrs Deadpool And The Howling Commandos” #1, “Red Hood Arsenal” #1, “Weirdworld” #1, “Gotham Academy” #7, “Lady Death Apocalypse” #5, “Ultimate End” #2, “Earth 2 Society” #1, “Kanan” #3, “Swords Of Sorrow Vampirella Jennifer Blood” #2, “Inferno” #2, “Savage Dragon” #204, “Batman Superman” #21, “Spider-Gwen” #5, “Walking Dead” #142, “Charmed Season 10” #9, “X-O Manowar 25th Anniversary Special” #1, “Harley Quinn” #17, “21st Century Tank Girl” #1, “Starfire” #1, “Li’l Depressed Boy Supposed To Be There Too” #5, “Adventures Of Aero-Girl” #2, “Detective Comics” #41, “Spider-Verse” #2, “Gold Digger” #222, “Batman” #41, “Palmiotti And Brady’s The Big Con Job” #4, “Secret Wars Journal” #2, “Catwoman” #41, “Looking For Group” #3, “Inhumans Attilan Rising” #2, “Insufferable” #2, “New Suicide Squad” #9, “Death Sentence London” #1, “Unity” #19, “Rachel Rising” #34, “Savior” #3, “Fox” #3, “Black Science” #15, “Silk” #5, “Ghost Racers” #1,
No, just… no… These comics? Not so much…
Hey! Nothing’s terrible! Great news!
SO, HOW BAD WAS IT?
Nothing being bad is a fantastic step.
WINNERS AND LOSERS
A wholly surprising jump and a rock solid regular purchase plus nothing to be mad at? This week’s fantastic.
Almost forgot, last week a fan named Mark wrote in with a question about a phrase from last week’s column, where it was written, “That ‘Justice League,’ though…” To explain, saying “that [WHATEVER], though” is a fairly common modern colloquialism implying that there’s something amazing that overcomes any possible objections one might have. It’s commonly used in a rather sexist fashion, as if looking at a person of the opposite gender and saying, “but that [BODY PART], though,” to emphasize the attraction therein. In this case, it was used to note that last week’s “Justice League” was something really worth looking at. Hope that helps, Mark!
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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