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 APRIL 22, 2015
Empire Uprising #1
Jump from the Read Pile.
Yes. First of all, you have four seriously talented, deeply experienced creators at the height of their abilities. Start there. Mark Waid. Barry Kitson. Chris Sotomayor. Troy Peteri. Already, you're starting strong. Second, let's look at the plot, which delivers everything you need to get enmeshed in the story, right in these pages. There's a global tyranny run by a group of dangerous ministers and a teleporting, nigh-invulnerable armored super villain. Cool. This regime has conquered the world and the fringes at the edge of this provide delicious tension that gives this take on Big Brother's side of the story very engaging. Great stuff, and if this is the kind of stuff hiding on Thrillbent, it may be time to start looking there more often.
Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #4
Squirrel Girl vs. Galactus? Well, she can't be beaten, so it's not hard go figure what will happen ... but the how is simply the most brilliant, most creative thing you'll see this week. The plot embraces every ridiculous element and turns it into a rainbow of sheer awesomeness. The team up of Ryan North, Erica Henderson, Rico Renzi and Clayton Cowles turned in another superbly entertaining comic book. Fantastic stuff.
WHAT'S THE PROGNOSIS?
Super entertaining stuff here.
THIS WEEK'S READ PILE
Honorable Mentions: Stuff worth noting, even if it's not good enough to buy
"Galaxy Quest The Journey Continues" #4 actually had an interesting take on the parody property as the storyline had two very innovative twists that made the plot work well. The characters kind of just Mark Madsened around, but the cleverness had an entertainment value.
"Guardians Of The Galaxy" #26 was right on the edge of making the jump based on some entirely entertaining character work from the title's lead. Peter Quill has been elected president of a burgeoning galactic empire ... and they have a pretty effective sales pitch. Power, like that of the Black Vortex that (most) of his team recently escaped, is enormously seductive and the rakish Star-Lord has a hard time finding reasons to resist it. There's a big "wha-wha-whaaaaat?" ending that was too vague to close the deal, but this issue had a lot of good elements.
"Kaptara" #1 has some interesting ideas with a complex planetary scientist a long way from home, but it either draws supporting characters in loose terms or cliches. The eclectic artwork is a mixed bag -- great in intimate moments, not so much for action scenes. Let's see where this is going.
There's a lot to like about "Star Wars" #4, mostly centering around "aggressive negotiations" between Darth Vader and Jabba the Hutt. Vader's investigation of fishy facts from his erstwhile homeworld has tension and gravitas. On the other hand, a certain whiny farm boy from Tattooine has a hissy fit right when his as-yet-unrevealed sister needs his help. Jason Aaron has a gift for writing these characters, but this is the second issue in a row that eased off of the gas pedal. Don't hold back. Hit it.
"Lazarus" #16 is an interesting story of espionage and commitment. A nun is charged with a mission of intelligence hidden inside a mission of mercy. This leads to some compelling, but slow paced, character work that further describes the challenges of existence under the familial oligarchies. Not bad, but just shy of excellence.
"Convergence Superboy And The Legion Of Super-Heroes" #1 almost recaptured the hope and possibility encapsulated by the Legion of the 1980s, as the struggle of a teenaged Kal-El resonate strongly. However, an art team that felt more antiquated than futuristic (except for one perfect panel of Braniac 5 yelling) and a plot that had to hit many of the same notes as every other crossover issue, this fell short of the mark. Still, for a moment, we were Legion.
"Avengers World" #20 had some ambient and mystical moments from Shang-Chi and had engaging and expressive artwork. However, it lacked a coherent plot and didn't move its other characters along into anywhere interesting.
"Infinite Loop" #1 has a real credible charm to it as a time traveler is charged with protecting the timestream from forgeries, shenanigans and what not. A "co-pilot" is available to her, a friendly voice in her ear that might want something more. The plot drifts and the cartoony art doesn't read as clearly as it should, but this may be something, down the line.
"Chew" #48 had some solid moments where the lead character's daughter popped in and out of his flashback to have some real moments of personal development, showing her proficiency and ability. There was, however, a throwaway new food ability handed in, a less than compelling action scene and some weird stuff going on with robotics that was more disturbing than interesting. This book is almost never bad, living and dying on its writing (because the artwork is always rock solid and never sways in its quality), but this month it's just a shade over "okay."
The "Meh" Pile Not good enough to praise, not bad enough to insult, not important enough to say much more than the title
"Velvet" #10, "Convergence Adventures Of Superman" #1, "G.I. JOE A Real American Hero" #213, "Convergence Batman And The Outsiders" #1, "Divinity" #3, "Convergence Green Lantern Corps" #1, "Buffy The Vampire Slayer Season 10" #14, "Convergence Hawkman" #1, "Ninjak" #2, "Avengers Operation Hydra" #1, "Convergence Justice League America" #1, "Robert Heinlein's Citizen Of The Galaxy" #3, "Black Widow" #17, "Convergence New Teen Titans" #1, "Inhuman Special" #1, "God Is Dead" #33, "Convergence Swamp Thing" #1, "King Flash Gordon" #3, "Amazing Spider-Man" #17.1, "Convergence The Flash" #1, "Ivar Timewalker" #4, "Convergence Wonder Woman" #1, "Mister X Razed" #3, "Hulk" #15, "Solar Man Of The Atom" #11, "All-New X-Men" #40, "Tomb Raider" #15, "Guardians Of The Galaxy And X-Men The Black Vortex Omega" #1, "Drones" #1, "Life After" #9,
No, just ... no ... These comics? Not so much ...
"Transformers Windblade Combiner Wars" #2 is frustrating for how it does its work more than what it does. In this issue, two planets are on the brink as three giant robots made out of other giant robots do battle. Devastator versus Superion and Defensor in full on melee combat. That sounds awesome, and if Pat Lee had drawn it, you'd have posters of the fight on every Transformers fan's wall. However, Livio Ramondelli's moody, somber coloring and obscured visuals make the epic conflict a rumor told second hand. Likewise, the sudden throwing together of the Protectobots as a team (apparently most of the combiners you know don't exist yet) was very contrived. Either a low "meh" or a not so bad "no" issue, but definitely not good.
SO, HOW BAD WAS IT?
The worst book was just frustrating, and that's a comparative vacation.
WINNERS AND LOSERS
A solid jump, an annoyance in place of actual awfulness, let's put a pin in this week and call it a winner.
This column normally eschews crowdfunding, but The Year of Comics from "Menthu" has 10 days to go and could use your support to bring quality independent comics to market. Hoo hah!
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!