The Buy Pile: Murder & America



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 ...


Deathstroke #16 (DC Comics)

This issue was deep as headliner Slade Wilson unexpectedly gets attached to someone, his lover gets bad news, then gives his daughter bad news, all while a shtick obsessed assassin plays straight man. Writer Christopher Priest keeps the plot twists coming (especially at the end) as Larry Hama, Carlo Pagulayan, Roberto J. Viacava, Jason Paz, Sean Parsons, Jeromy Cox and Willie Schubert deliver an energetic, crisp visual package that brings home the goods. Rock solid storytelling here.

America #2 (Marvel Comics)

"America"#2 has your freakin' hero right here ...

Jump from the Read Pile. For a comic to be this wild and audacious and inspirational and effective and ridiculous all at the same time is ... well, frankly, it's nearly impossible. "Nextwave" did it, but that was Warren freaking Ellis, years deep in the game and armed with everything in the toolbox. This ... as what appears to be the first comic work for writer Gabby Rivera, well, it's a freaking miracle. The titular character discovers she can not only punch her way into other dimensions, she can time travel, too. Not predictably, but she can, and she meets WWII Peggy Carter (who is DOPE), brushes off WWII Cap (is he secretly a Nazi in this reality? Never mind, doesn't matter) and ends up getting a college lecture from Moon Girl herself, Lunella Lafayette. There are at least three gasp-inducing moments in this book, several chuckles and at least one legit fist pump. Let's stop and applaud Joe Quinones, Ming Doyle, Jose Villarubia and Travis Lanham for fitting all this awesomeness into a space this size. How long can this series be this epic? Spirit be praised, let's freaking find out!


The big companies did pretty good with these two books.


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

For fans of psychological underpinnings, "Batman" #20 (and really this entire storyline) is manna from above, delving deep into the fractured mind of the billionaire vigilante. On the surface, Bane and Batman punch each other a lot. The juxtaposition of those competing realities didn't connect for this column, but many will surely enjoy it.

"Kill Shakespeare Past Is Prologue Juliet" #1 has a lot of great points, being sweeping and truly Shakespearean in its dialogue and themes. However, the issues lie with continuity. If taken on its own, this leaves Juliet navel gazing and petulant in her grief. If taken as part if the larger "Kill Shakespeare" story, with Shylock deposited in the middle of Montagues and Capulets, is this after the struggle with Prospero? How do we get the damsel from the general and war leader? Perhaps answers lie ahead, but this meal lacks matter.

"Captain America Steve Rogers" #15 is interesting as the titular character confronts the nature of his current state in a way that will certainly remind you of the Steve Rogers of old. However, the plot depends too much on things that happened in other books, makes a very strange bit with the Red Skull's daughter and overall only works when Rogers is talking, walking jingo machine that he is. Not bad, but best in a collection.

The "Meh" Pile Not good enough to praise, not bad enough to insult, they just kind of happened ...

"Bullseye" #3, "Starstruck Old Proldiers Never Die" #3, "Hawkeye" #5, "Extremity" #2, "Spider-Man Deadpool" #16, "Black Cloud" #1, "Savage Things" #2, "X-Men Gold" #1, "Harley Quinn" #17, "Rock Candy Mountain" #1, "Sovereigns" #0, "Fall And Rise Of Captain Atom" #4, "Uncanny Avengers" #22, "Faith" #10, "Tank Girl World War Tank Girl" #1, Nightwing" #18, "Jessica Jones" #7, "Infinite Seven" #3, "Green Lanterns" #20, "Nova" #5, "Box Office Poison Color Comics" #4, "Everafter From The Pages Of Fables" #8, "Brutal Nature Concrete Fury" #2, "All-New Wolverine" #19, "Shade The Changing Girl" #7, "Doctor Who Ghost Stories" #1, "Spider-Man" #15, "Goldie Vance" #11, "Cyborg" #11, "Star Wars" #30, "Pathfinder Worldscape" #6, "Iron Fist" #2, "Mighty Man" #1, "Green Arrow" #20, "Blue Hour" #5, "Champions" #7, "Darkness Visible" #3, "Aquaman" #20, "James Bond Black Box" #2, "Planetoid Praxis" #3, "Flintstones" #10, "Intertwined" #6, "Justice League" #18, "Elephantmen" #76, "Royals" #1, "Superman" #20, "Jem And The Holograms" #25, "Bullseye" #3.

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

"Slapstick" #5 has a faux Disney princess, murderous furniture and ... you know what? No. it's just terrible. No more wasting time on this failed attempt at satire and parody.

"Amory Wars III Good Apollo I'm Burning Star IV" #1 seems to assume many facts not in evidence. Either mental illness drives a weird space opera thing, or there's a connection not said. In any case, this was not for the uninitiated and must be for existing fans of the property.


... admittedly, that could have gone better ...


The week's a tie game with two solid purchases weighed down by the underperforming reads and two legitimately tired books.


The writer of this column writes two weekly web superhero comics: "Menthu: The Anger of Angels" 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 "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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