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 21, 2016
(DC Comics) – Jump from the Read Pile: It’s hard to have a protagonist experience moments of doubt and not descend into navel gazing frippery. This script by TV veteran John Semper Jr. manages it with deftness and aplomb as the titular character manages humor, action and character development, moving through a complete narrative arc in this single issue while advancing a larger storyline. The experience shows with how smoothly the dialogue and plot move, but the visual storytelling from Paul Pelletier, Tony Kordos, Scott Hanna, Guy Major and Rob Leigh keeps that brilliantly done script moving along in an effective way. There’s a scene involving music where they show something happening without words very well. This is rock solid, high grade comic book storytelling and a joy to read.
Power Man And Iron Fist #8
(Marvel Comics): This issue strikes at the core of the problems with this crossover, and does so with clear, plain language. Danny Rand is standing on principle and Luke Cage is struggling with the boundaries of a system that he knows gets things wrong in a big way. When Carol Danvers and her flying flurry of fascists come down with their predictive justice “Minority Report” shtick, it seems like they are causing more predictions to come true than intervening. A comic book proving that Tony Stark is right would be a challenge, but David Walker’s script shows the internal struggle of the titular characters trying to do right in a world where everything seems wrong, but it’s more an indictment of the status quo than a vindication of Marvel’s heroes. The visual storytelling of Sanford Greene, Flaviano, John Rauch and Clayton Cowles does a fantastic job of moving the plot through its paces and delivering character development at the same time. Really great stuff here.
The Vision #11
(Marvel Comics): Much has been said in this column about how good this title is, about the diaphanous scripts being turned in by Tom King, who is clearly some kind of gift from the gods to comic book fans. Ignore all of that. Seriously, forget every word. Why? In this issue, weaving in ideas from everything he’s done before on ten virtually flawless issues, he has made a book better than any of them. From the subtlety of the Simon Williams reference to the repetition of a key phrase to the heartbreaking last page, this issue made ever panel count, made every word an uttering of momentous import that resounds all the more powerfully with repeat readings. If you’re in an Eisner race against this book, don’t worry about making it to the podium. This is simply amazing storytelling, which relies just as heavily on the determined, patient visual storytelling from Gabriel Hernandez Walta, Jordie Bellaire and Clayton Cowles. Every “wow” that ever wowed.
WHAT’S THE PROGNOSIS?
Mind? Blown. Also, really, if someone gives you a prophecy, it’s probably you that’s gonna make it happen.
THIS WEEK’S READ PILE
Honorable Mentions: Stuff worth noting, even if it’s not good enough to buy
“Revolution” #1 was a dream come true for kids on carpets with action figures from every era. G.I. Joe is having a CTU problem as Optimus Prime wants to talk about it and Rom has nothing to say. Lots of fighting but not a lot of intelligence gathering as everybody talks past each other. Nostalgic fun without a lot of plot to go around.
“Weird Detective” #4 wasn’t bad but jumped around in its plot a bit too much. The weirdness was turned down and the procedural nature was ratcheted up, which took out some of the distinctive charm of this title.
“Superman” #7 is a slice of midwest Americana with the kind of corn-fed values and situations that evoke Norman Rockwell. Clark seems determined to spend a whole day with his wife and son, and works hard to avoid trouble along the way. A done-in-one that’d play well in the flyover states, it broke no new ground along the way.
If you’re lucky enough to survive such a set of choices, you may find yourself waking up in a place you do not know with a person you do not know and little idea how you got there, but a vague sense you enjoyed what seemed like a good idea at the time. “Karnak” #5 is like that feeling — bewildered, trying to get your bearing, maybe a little sticky. With the deftness of Warren Ellis stylistic flair, that’s almost enough to make the jump. Almost.
“Action Man” #4 was a remarkable improvement as it greatly developed its antagonist, gave the somewhat long suffering protagonist a chance to shine and tied in well with the continuity-based events going on. Had the plot been a little zippier this would have earned a ride home.
“Deadpool V Gambit” #5 didn’t make a lick of sense but had some funny jokes, er, sorry, references here and there. The whole package doesn’t satisfy but fans of Deadpool might find enough to whet their Wade whistles here.
“Batman” #7 showed Bruce Wayne working well with his cousin and his new team of colleagues but had muddy coloring due to an in-plot weather incident and a vague, mundane kind of threat. Better on the side of the angels than their counterparts.
“Vote Loki” #4 came to a conclusion that’s hopefully less terrifying than the actual election as the God of Stories tried to clear up some misconceptions about himself and had things go very differently than he planned … maybe. There is an odd kind of cognitive dissonance, a mind **** that will have you pondering over the fridge logic of this for some time to come. That made it close to making it home, but again (almost like real life) there was too much of an uncertain, creeping dread here to consider this entertainment.
The “Meh” Pile Not good enough to praise, not bad enough to insult, they just kind of happened …
“Mighty Thor” #11, “Doctor Fate” #16, “Civil War II Choosing Sides” #6, “Rom” #3, “Empress” #6, “Trinity” #1, “Green Lanterns” #7,”Savage Dragon” #216, “Patsy Walker A.K.A. Hellcat” #10, “Green Arrow” #7, “Extraordinary X-Men Annual” #1, “Xena Warrior Princess” #6, “Guardians Of The Galaxy” #12, “Seven To Eternity” #1, “Civil War II X-Men” #4, “Warp Zone” #2, “Uncanny X-Men” #13, “Transformers Till All Are One” #4, “International Iron Man” #7, “Harley Quinn” #4, “Punisher” #5, “Joyride” #5, “Wicked + The Divine 1831” #1, “Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.” #9, “Justice League” #5, “Venom Space Knight” #12, “Tomb Raider II” #8, “Chew” #58, “Jem And The Holograms” #19, “All-New Wolverine” #12, “Brik” #3, “Lucifer” #10, “Super Human Resources” #4, “Micronauts” #6, “Nightwing” #5, “Britannia” #1, “Amazing Spider-Man” #18, “Joyners” #4, “Demonic” #2, “Raven” #1, “Kingsway West” #2, “Black-Eyed Kids” #6, “Suicide Squad Most Wanted El Diablo And Boomerang” #2, “Astonishing Ant-Man” #12, “G.I. JOE A Real American Hero” #232, “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers” #7, “Atomic Robo And The Temple Of Od” #2, “Mechanism” #3, “Aquaman” #7, “Civil War II” #5,
No, just … no … These comics? Not so much …
Nothing sucked? Cool!
SO, HOW BAD WAS IT?
Always a good sign to have no books that are hatefully terrible.
WINNERS AND LOSERS
This is a banner week for comics fans with some amazing purchases and nothing to really complain about. Huzzah!
How ’bout that “Project: Wildfire” webcomic, huh?
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, “Soulfire Sourcebook” #1, “Executive Assistant Iris Sourcebook” #1 and “Aspen Universe Sourcebook,” the official guides to those Aspen Comics franchises. 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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