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 JANUARY 3, 2018
Rise Of The Black Panther #1 (Marvel Comics)
Jump from the Read Pile. Climb into the wayback machine and check out a huge chunk of Wakandan history involving T'chaka, father of the current Black Panther. Using elements of Priest, Hudlin and Coates (who "consults" on this book), writer Evan Narcisse makes the characters nuanced and multidimensional as it covers decades, from World War 2 up until almost the modern era. T'chaka is an interesting and engaged ruler, paying attention to things beyond his historically inviolate borders with equal attention as he pays to the people in the streets.
There are only two oddities: the surprising number of people who literally just walk into Wakanda (including his second wife) and an odd touch of colonialism infecting the pageantry of his first. The artwork from Paul Renaud, Stephane Paitreau and Joe Sabino manage to work around the somewhat wordy passages to showcase a Golden City of wonders back when the Edsel and the Studebaker still rolled along American roads in large numbers. There's a fun bit with T'chaka's father at the beginning and a massaging of T'challa's origin story at the end, but overall this engrossing work succeeds and is worth the money, a fine prelude to Mister Coogler's opus next month.
Transformers Vs The Visionaries #1 (IDW Publishing)
Jump from the Read Pile. This sneaky little comic made the mark by a hair, smartly focusing on a quartet of core characters and alluding to the involvement of more. The world of Prysmos died and its last survivors, two warring camps of militarized magicians called Darkling Lords and Spectral Knights, waited on the word of their long lost leader who promised them a new world he would remake for them after hiding on Earth for millennia. The problem is he chose a world full of thirty (or more) foot tall mechanical sentients winding down from millions of years of war and, subsequently, armed to the teeth.
This struggle is centered on two reasonable people (the grizzled Autobot warrior Kup and the beleaguered Spectral Knight chief Leoric) and two intractable partisans (Darkling Lord leader Virulina and Cybertron's head of security Ironhide). Writer Magdalene Visaggio ably manages these personalities (and those around them) struggling with a Gordian knot as much as their own lingering internecine conflicts. The artwork from Fico Ossio, David Garcia Cruz and Gilberto Lazcano did a great job of making characters large and small relatable in moments of gripping action and tense discussion. Given how many uninhabited worlds exist, this potboiler may not have made the jump on a more robust week, but it's a savory confection to start off our 2018.
Black Lightning: Cold Dead Hands #3 (DC Comics)
Jump from the Read Pile. With several gripping moments and real-world realities tearing at the edge of the narrative, this issue puts the title character in an impossible position and endangers the entire city of Cleveland with Michael Keaton's plot from Spider-Man: Homecoming. Writer Tony Isabella logically levels Jefferson Pierce up with an eclectic supporting cast and some smart uses of DCU technology. The artwork from Clayton Henry, Pete Pantazis and Josh Reed is crisp, bright and vibrant. Much like another book this week, having this on the stands is a great push for the upcoming live action treatment.
WHAT'S THE PROGNOSIS?
That's an engaging set of comics! Hoo hah!