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 MARCH 15, 2017
God Country #3 (Image Comics)
Jump from the Read Pile. The basic premise -- the god of blades, embodied in a magic sword, reversing the dementia of a Texas retiree and bringing him closer to his family -- advances quite nicely as the calm inevitably precedes the storm and big things come to small places. The script from Donny Cates is confident, managing on a razor's edge between family drama and high adventure. The visuals from Geoff Shaw, Jason Wordie and John J. Hill bring menace and wonder in equal shares. This book is fantastic, so let's see a lot more of this.
Odyssey Of The Amazons #3 (DC Comics)
Jump from the Read Pile. A ragtag group of Amazons, far from home, get caught in a misunderstanding and gain two sets of deadly enemies. This epic tale of sisters in arms, struggling as much against each other as they are against barbarian giants and valkyries, was rich with dramatic tension and pathos. Screenwriter and actor Kevin Grevioux turns in another winning script - that ending, whoo!) while the art team of Ryan Benjamin, Don Ho, Tony Washington and Saida Temofonte made every page worth turning. This is engaging, surprising storytelling.
WHAT'S THE PROGNOSIS?
Thoughtful, engaging comics this week.
THIS WEEK'S READ PILE
Honorable Mentions: Stuff worth noting, even if it's not good enough to buy
"Kill Or Be Killed" #7 was a masterpiece of characterization, a tour de force into two generations of people living with misery. If it had more than a few pages of plot, this engaging issue could have been a contender.
"G.I. JOE" #3 had great action and fun characterization, but a whisper thin plot coasting on charisma.
"Mighty Thor" #17 had some very intriguing, albeit restrictively biblical, concepts worked out and fantastic artwork, but when it showed its mistletoe underbelly (Norse myth fans will get it) it seemed all the less important despite its grandiose body count.
"Neil Gaiman's American Gods Shadows" #1 is a fairly faithful adaptation of the original novel, with some of the flavor of the enticing trailer. It's for mature audiences and the art has some rough edges, but if you don't have time for prose fiction, this is a decent alternative.
"Star Trek Deviations" #1 is a pretty good Elseworlds take on a Romulan-ruled TNG era. It helps (a lot) if you know the canonical takes on the characters, but it's not a bad underdog take on an alternate timeline.
The "Meh" Pile Not good enough to praise, not bad enough to insult, they just kind of happened ...
"Invincible" #134, "Daredevil" #18, "Wild Storm" #2, "Forever War" #2, "Battlestar Galactica Gods And Monsters" #5, "Spider-Man" #14, "Nightwing" #17, "James Bond Felix Leiter" #3, "Green Arrow" #19, "Star Wars Poe Dameron" #12, "Red Sonja" #3, "All-Star Batman" #8, "Vampirella" #1, "Great Lakes Avengers" #6, "Harley Quinn" #16, "Dead Inside" #4, "Totally Awesome Hulk" #17, "Super Sons" #2, "Box Office Poison Color Comics" #3, "He-Man Thundercats" #6, "Guardians Of The Galaxy" #18, "Highlander The American Dream" #2, "Patsy Walker A.K.A. Hellcat" #16, "Aquaman" #19, "Uncanny X-Men" #19, "Sex Criminals" #17, "Divinity III Escape From Gulag 396" #1, "Mighty Morphin Power Rangers" #13, "Monsters Unleashed" #5, "Batman" #19, "Angel Season 11" #3, "Justice League" #17, "Deadpool The Duck" #5, "M.A.S.K. Mobile Armored Strike Kommand Annual" #1, "Star-Lord" #4, "Doctor Who The Tenth Doctor Year Three" #3, "Batwoman" #1, "Revolutionaries" #3, "Archie" #18, "Ms. Marvel" #16, "Cave Carson Has A Cybernetic Eye" #6, "Superman" #19, "Venom" #5, "East Of West" #32, "Green Lanterns" #19, "Eclipse" #5, "Lucifer" #16, "Horizon" #9, "Trinity" #7, "Amazing Spider-Man" #25, "Injection" #11, "Punisher" #10.
No, just ... no ... These comics? Not so much ...
"Black Panther World Of Wakanda" #5 posits an alarmingly low-tech nation rife with human trafficking, rape, corruption and malaise, all because the king is distracted. This post-colonial, responsibility-free Wakanda requires vigilantism, apparently, as the entire government of one of the most advanced nations on earth, one with a voluntarily assembled grouping of tribes (instead of being forced together like most post-colonial nations) that's the size of New Jersey, can't positively affect people's lives. Okay. No, it's not a look at a real country, it's a gross, unimaginative and un-entertaining collection of cliches posited around a half-decent love story. A tepid work, all told.
"Casanova Acedia" #8 is a tragic mess, an incomprehensible pastiche of ideas masquerading as stories while in reality being more like a family reunion for sentences that hate each other. This series used to be so clever and innovative ... ah, well.
"Captain America Sam Wilson" #20 is an entire issue of navel gazing and bad outcomes, a dumpster fire masquerading as a story as the titular lead is without agency or effect, leaving the "narrative" (such as it is) identical with or without his involvement. Where's Misty Knight? We need her here.
SO, HOW BAD WAS IT?
Two bad books couldn't tank the good times.
WINNERS AND LOSERS
Two jumps will win since there were some ambitious reads.
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!