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 March 4, 2015
The opening issues of this series were sweeping and romantic in a way that was almost impossible to deny. The second set of issues, including this one, are more complex and more engaged in the longer narrative than individual issues. Whereas “Saga” started out feeling like falling in love, the more recent issues explore tougher ground — when that love begins to rot, from within and without, poisoning everything it comes into contact with. The two star-crossed lovers are now estranged parents, fighting for survival and a chance at redemption. Other characters — a grieving father making bad decisions, a brilliant young girl saved from dire circumstance, a jilted lover trying to find a new path — each play parts but in the light of the central story, they all hang in ennui and shades of gray. This is not, in any way, a bad thing. It is, however, more mature and challenging storytelling than the opening chapters and — to some — perhaps less engaging. We’ll all applaud when this is collected, but as single issues, some may find the longer scope of things losing some luster.
Transformers More Than Meets The Eye #38
The grandiose time travel tale comes to a halt as Rodimus Prime and his gang of misfits and mishaps catch up with the turncoat Brainstorm, whose plan is nothing like they anticipated. Timestreams get overwritten, universes are threatened and complex emotional realities are very personal moments… at least as personal as giant robots get. James Roberts’ script doesn’t require a graduate degree in physics to understand, but it wouldn’t hurt. The ongoing intimacy between Chromedome and Rewind continues to be one of the most refreshing romances in science fiction and Megatron struggles with real, serious emotional stakes. Savvy stuff for serious readers.
WHAT’S THE PROGNOSIS?
Something of an uphill climb, but an interesting view when you get there
THIS WEEK’S READ PILE
Honorable Mentions: Stuff worth noting, even if it’s not good enough to buy
“Day Men” #6 had — again — great action and great panache, but a plot that simply ran the same story elements that the series has done since its inception. A storm has been brewing since the first page of the first issue, and those clouds look pretty heavy…
“X-O Manowar” #34 certainly had some fairly high stakes, but its first two-thirds were lackluster. Aric of Dacia was a big cloud of cliche as he honored his oath and left everything that mattered behind again. Great art, standard story.
The last short story in “Shadow Show” #4 was very sweet, the capturing of imagination in amber for a child and his grandfather as a means of adapting to the horrors of mortality. The rest of the book was instantly forgettable, but one-third of the book was good.
“Grayson” #8 again uses some clever storytelling techniques, especially pages in diptych, to deliver information in two separate time periods. Unfortunately, the core story that’s delivered is pretty predictable (even by its own admission). Excellent execution, adequate conception.
The “Meh” Pile Not good enough to praise, not bad enough to insult, not important enough to say much more than the title
“Supreme Blue Rose” #7, “Iron Fist The Living Weapon” #10, “Earth 2 World’s End” #22, “Avengers World” #18, “Blackcross” #1, “Infinity Man And The Forever People” #8, “All-New Hawkeye” #1, “Uber” #23, “Black Science” #12, “Princess Leia” #1, “Transformers” #38, “Palmiotti And Brady’s The Big Con Job” #1, “Avengers” #42, “Green Lantern” #40, “Operation S.I.N.” #3, “Angel And Faith Season 10” #12, “Spider-Woman” #5, “Doctor Who The Eleventh Doctor” #9, “Guardians Team-Up” #1, “Detective Comics” #40, “Robert Heinlein’s Citizen Of The Galaxy” #1, “Silver” 4, “Harley Quinn” #15, “Feathers” #3, “Angela Asgard’s Assassin” #4, “Stray” #2, “New 52 Futures End” #44, “X-Men” #25, “Cluster” #2, “Rocket Raccoon” #9, “Joe Frankenstein” #1, “Lady Killer” #3, “HaloGen” #1, “God Hates Astronauts” #6, “Batman Eternal” #48, “Altered States Vampirella” #1, “Green Arrow” #40, “Big Man Plans” #1, “Aquaman And The Others” #11, “Robocop” #9, “Blood Queen Vs Dracula” #1, “G.I. JOE” #6, “Imperium” #2, “Doctor Who The Tenth Doctor” #8, “Earth 2” #32, “God Is Dead” #30, “Swamp Thing” #40, “Nameless” #2, “Hulk” #12.
No, just… no… These comics? Not so much…
Nothing awful? That’s a good sign!
SO, HOW BAD WAS IT?
Anytime nothing’s terrible, that’s good for business.
WINNERS AND LOSERS
Let’s call the week a win despite some purchases that might have you stroking your chin thoughtfully about spending the money.
This week, Stranger Comics released “Waso: Will To Power” by the writer of this column. A complete prose fantasy novella, it’s only three dollars on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and iTunes for just three dollars. Can’t beat that.
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!
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