THIS WEEK’S READ PILE
Honorable Mentions: Stuff worth noting, even if it’s not good enough to buy
Darth Vader #9 had some spectacular action scenes and riveting artwork but fell short on the plotting side as snooty Jedi librarian Jacosta Nu faces both the Grand Inquisitor and the title character. A better fight than one might anticipate, but not much room for more than spectacle.
Catalyst Prime Noble #7 again succeeds in making a character named Astrid the most impressive person in these pages, battling a superhuman weapons expert and diving out of a plane without a parachute. The lead character and many around him stand as an empty vessel, his main value being adored by the aforementioned Astrid. Great art, great character designs, but the characters themselves are not connecting.
Sleepless #1 is an intriguing start, an immersive fantasy environment that patiently and effectively unveils the characters therein. What it didn’t do was give enough plot to engage on where these characters are going — the grim protector, the not-so-helpless ingenue. Worth a look to see if it picks up the pace, but not quite ready for prime time yet.
Star Trek The Next Generation Mirror Broken #5 borrows a tactical maneuver from the book of Gabriel Lorca in battle against a Klingon/Cardassian alliance, which is a bit less spectacular in print than it was on screen. This book had the quick paced creativity of the TNG crew down, even under the “mirror darkly” rules of brutality and betrayal, but just didn’t do enough to distinguish itself from its highly derivative origins. This will be a fun diversion for Trek loyalists.
If you love the star-spangled Avenger, Captain America #696 is gonna scratch your nostalgic itch but good. Doing a kind of walkabout, Cap stumbles on bad dealings in a small town and deals out good old fashioned American justice, done in one issue. If you know nothing else, this comic has everything you need to know, and could have been published at any point in history. As such, its lack of distinctiveness can come off as bland, its antagonist is a “jobber,” and had you never read it, it wouldn’t affect your perception of anything.
Along similar thematic lines, one thing you can say about Batman #36 is that Tom King is a master of craft. In two heroes avoiding each other discussing the engagement that’s got people talking, there are a lot of compliments and lots of “aw shucks” moments and some light punching. “It got weird” would be an understatement but if you love Bruce Wayne and his flying friend, this will likely twirl your cape.
Avengers #674 was at its best when it focused on the Vision and his daughter, Viv. The rest of the team had little to do, from Ms. Marvel borrowing a catchphrase to Nadia Pym getting her scientific trivia ignored.
Archie #26 had a killer callback to a previous issue but kind of just tread water in terms of plot. Heck of a good looking book, though.
No, just … no … These comics? Not so much …
Astonishing X-Men #6 has an ending that’s both tedious and stupid, a partial climax to a story that’s dragged on for months and is getting worse as it proceeds. The coloring is all wishy washy, the action scenes are lackluster, and it does nothing good for one character in particular. Blerg.
Doctor Strange #382 could just as well have been called “a series of unfortunate decisions” as the not-so-good Doctor makes mistake after mistake, fails at being a veterinarian (really) and gets tossed into a van. There’s no struggle against a great evil, no heroism on display, just being messy and people getting annoyed at it. We deserve better, and so does Stephen.
SO, HOW BAD WAS IT?
Limping, bleeding heavily …
WINNERS AND LOSERS
Oy. This week took it on the chin.
Did you grab some of those sweet new free wallpapers for your phone or tablet from the Operative Network? You should, they’re niiiiice!
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 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!
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