The Buy Pile: Bad People & Bad Decisions Make For Good Comics

"Curse Words" #1


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 ...


Curse Words #1 (Image Comics)

Jump from the Read Pile. The lure of leisure time and scantily clad romantic partners have felled conquerors of many stripes, from the Zentraedi in "Robotech" to ... well, the Invid in "Robotech." In this crafty new book, an imperialist's minion gets a change of heart when he experiences New York City. That part is very engaging, and when the bill inevitably comes due that leads to some solid action and the truth needing protection in an extreme fashion. Charles Soule, Ryan Browne, Jordan Boyd, Michael Parkinson, Chris Crank and Shawn DePasquale turned in one entertaining work and watching this struggle between demons and slightly better angels is a great start.

"Grand Passion" #3
"Grand Passion" #3 breaks all the rules and loves every minute of it.

Grand Passion #3 (Dynamite Entertainment)

Jump from the Read Pile. Not at all safe for work, this twisted gunpoint love story has everything you need to get engaged in the characters and resolve the plot in this issue while pushing you towards the next one. Spoilers would abound with discussing the details, but James Robinson, Tom Feister, Dave Curiel and Simon Bowland deliver a bawdy, enjoyable romp.


New ideas getting their game face together? Gotta love that, especially with so much cool new stuff happening.


Honorable Mentions: Stuff worth noting, even if it's not good enough to buy

Answers start to come in "Mosaic" #4 with the help of a brain significantly better than the series’ protagonist. There's a real holodeck feel to it, as a lot of nothing happened just to transfer some information and do a bit of character work. That dragged the plot, which wasn't so good, but the building of Morris Sackett as a character is fantastic.

Maximus the Mad is like a bored frat boy Loki in "Uncanny Inhumans" #18 where he comes up with a plan that only involves a little bit of murder and mayhem but he figures will be wholly forgiven. Hanging out with two of the worst Inhuman villains aside from himself, this has the feeling of a good crime comedy but hits the brakes sometime during the second act, leaving things unresolved. An improvement with the focus on character, but not enough to make it home.

"WWE" #1 was interestingly written, presenting the story behind the story as a story, reframing actual events in wrestling ... "history," we can call it. In any case, this behind the scenes look plays out as if the characters on the screen are the same when the cameras are off, carrying the scripted nature of the stories to a whole new level. On one hand, that's brilliant and amazing, especially with the Seth Rollins characterization. On another hand, many of the shirtless characters herein were difficult to distinguish from each other, and that made the story seem to go by in a blur at points.

"Captain America Sam Wilson" #18 took a long time to make what seems like an obvious decision (as stated by almost everybody who matters in these pages), which made its titular character terrible even in the eyes of many people closest to him. It also had a strategy from a young hero that bordered on stupidity, so that was a problem. What was good was Steve Rogers, dancing around double entendres so much that Ben Kenobi might pause and then applaud respectfully. The ideas are better than the execution, and if this issue is right that the cause matters more than the consequences, that's something to like.

Just when "Star Wars Doctor Aphra" #3 was getting good, after some character development (including her full name) and finding out just how dangerous a single Wookiee can be, when the page count caught up to it, cutting the story off at the climax of a second act. Written as trade bait? Maybe. This was close to making the mark, though, as each cast member did some of what makes them awesome.

The "Meh" Pile Not good enough to praise, not bad enough to insult, they just kind of happened ... "Harbinger Renegade" #3, "Aquaman" #15, "Revolutionaries" #1, "Trinity" #5, "Cage" #4, "Hook Jaw" #2, "Green Arrow" #15, "Squadron Supreme" #15, "Jeff Steinberg Champion Of Earth" #5, "Dollface" #1, "Lucifer" #14, "Spider-Gwen" #16, "Black Hammer Giant-Sized Annual" #1, "Venom" #3, "Superman" #15, "Deadpool And The Mercs For Money" #7, "Horizon" #7, "Ultimates 2" #3, "Justice League" #13, "Black Widow" #10, "Athena Voltaire And The Volcano Goddess" #3, "Suicide Squad Most Wanted El Diablo And Amanda Waller" #6, "Divinity III Aric Son Of The Revolution" #1, "Avengers" #3.1, "Raven" #5, "Unbelievable Gwenpool" #10, "Battlestar Galactica Gods And Monsters" #3, "Mighty Captain Marvel" #1, "Justice League Vs Suicide Squad" #5, "Gamora" #2, "Doctor Who The Ninth Doctor" #9, "Patsy Walker A.K.A. Hellcat" #14, "Harley Quinn" #12, "Kill Or Be Killed" #5, "Mighty Morphin Power Rangers" #11, "James Bond Hammerhead" #4, "Nightwing" #13, "Black Panther World Of Wakanda" #3, "Generation Zero" #6, "Star-Lord" #2, "Cougar And Cub" #1, "All-New X-Men" #17, "Justice League Of America The Ray Rebirth" #1, "U.S. Avengers" #2, "Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency The Salmon Of Doubt" #4, "Invincible Iron Man" #3, "He-Man Thundercats" #4, "Night's Dominion" #5, "Green Lanterns" #15, "Few" #1, "Batman" #15.

No, just ... no ... These comics? Not so much ...

Since "Clone Conspiracy" #4 and "Amazing Spider-Man" #23 have so many of the same story elements, they may as well have the same review. Of course, trusting maniacs and murderers goes as it inevitably has to after pages and pages of moralistic hand wringing and prevarication. These books are so predictably doomed that when the other shoe finally drops, it's almost a relief to know there's just the punching and attempted murder to get through now. Subpar concept, adequate execution.


Not bad.


Those jumps, though ... let's call this week a winner.


Well, there are 22 pages of a new 72 page web comic on line, there's another one coming next month while a third just got collected for sale, 44 pages of story for just three bucks through Black History Month. All that and asking the question who is David Chance? It was a big weekend at the Black Comix Arts Festival in San Francisco, and if you join the mailing list there's free stuff in it for you, to boot!

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 "Project Wildfire: Enter Project Torrent" (a collected superhero web comic), "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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