www.cbr.com

The Buy Pile: Black Panthers, Black Lightning & Visionary Autobots

THIS WEEK'S READ PILE

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

Batman #38 was strange, making one of the most convincing cases against the need for the Dark Knight Detective ever printed. There's a killer in Gotham City, but the usual suspects are all suspiciously accounted for. Bruce Wayne is forced to wrestle with old demons as this makes orphans one of his employee's sons and shows him how differently his own life could have become. Weird, twisted stuff, but just shy of making it home.

RELATED: Batman Is Unintentionally Training His Next Wave of Villains

On one hand, Star Wars Adventures Forces Of Destiny Princess Leia #1 is a fairly simple tale of the Senator Doctor Princess Commander (she hasn't made general yet, at this point) commanding troops on Hoth in between episodes 4 and 5. It's a solid, well told story that's inspirational without being particularly memorable ... except for one thing. On the other hand, there is a simply gigantic spoiler about Star Wars canon that has huge implications and throws many stories you already know into a new light (and even more if you look harder). That's ... a surprise, and apparently wholly approved by the Story Group. To inspire younger kids or as a completist, you'll want this in your library of knowledge. Otherwise, this is a good but not overly remarkable done-in-one.

The Surgeon #1 is a likeable post-apocalyptic western with a cantankerous protagonist, simply gorgeous art and coloring and not nearly enough answers. Something Went Wrong, and a slice of the population “went underground” for a million dollars a pop, and everybody else is trying to survive. The book looks great, but not quite enough to make up for the characters needing more about them to stand out or the plot’s need to have a little less we’ve seen before.

Nightwing #36 was a really good book, developing a villain called The Judge, making him out to have Palpatine-esque abilities to manipulate and wheedle. This wasn't, however, much good for the title character, who stumbled and bled his way through meaningless felonious assault after witness tampering. Solid pulpish elements and plotting, but not much to say for the erstwhile boy wonder.

Rogue And Gambit #1 doesn't have much of a story, but will very easily tickle the fancy of nostalgia fans as the writing perfectly captures the "will they or won't they" tension that made the title characters so combustible in their heyday.

Catalyst Prime Noble #8 didn't have much in the way of plot aside from "fight fight fight," but it had some cute character moments and stunning visuals.

Black Bolt #9 was a pretty good Crusher Creel issue, as friends and foes alike gathered to, even with a great deal of surprise, honor the Absorbing Man. There are some moments with two blond good guys that are legitimate emotional connections. The book falls apart, alas, whenever its Inhuman roots showed through, dealing with the silent erstwhile king. There, it was all "crossover this" and "old business that," which wasn't anywhere near as effective.

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

... hey, nothing was terrible! Yay!

SO, HOW BAD WAS IT?

Nothing bad and some good tries here.

WINNERS AND LOSERS

That number of jumps over no cringe worthy books makes this week a huge winner.

THE BUSINESS

The writer of this column writes two (basically) weekly web superhero comics: Menthu: The Anger of Angels (just had its season finale) and Project Wildfire: Street Justice -- free every week. Can't beat "free."

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 Scoundrel (historical fiction set in 1981 east Los Angeles), Irrational Numbers: Addition (a supernatural historical fiction saga with vampires), 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!

star wars episode 9 rumor villain
Star Wars: Episode IX's Rumored Villain May Bring Balance to the Franchise

More in CBR Exclusives