WHAT IS THE BUY PILE?
Every week Hannibal Tabu (winner of the 2012 Top Cow Talent Hunt/2018-2019 City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs Cultural Trailblazer/blogger/novelist/poet/jackass on Twitter/head honcho of Komplicated) takes on between seven to thirteen reviews (or so) to share his opinions with you. Thursday afternoons you'll be able to get those thoughts (and they're just the opinions of one guy, so calm down) about all of that ... which goes something like this ...
THE BUY PILE FOR SEPTEMBER 11, 2019
Ironheart #10 (Marvel Comics)
There's a lot to like about this superbly crafted issue, long before you get to the eyebrow-raising ending. The banter between Shuri and the title character is super entertaining, there's a guest star that makes a lot of sense and gets some killer lines. The visual design on the antagonists and the redesigned New Warrior are arresting and wonderful. Eve Ewing is continuing her truly iconic run on this series with another all-star script, while Luciano Vecchio, Geoffo and Matt Milla throw down on the visuals. Every page is a joy to read. RATING: BUY.
Star Wars Adventures #25 (IDW Publishing)
Jump from the Read Pile. It's official: Amilyn Holdo is the best. In a prequel-era adventure alongside everyone's favorite soon-to-be princess doctor senator (general came after her marriage), Holdo makes Leia the straight man in a show of derring-do that would have a teenaged Anakin Skywalker citing vehicle safety rules. This issue is thrilling as the secrets of Republic-era Coruscant are laid bare in a fantastic script by Delilah S. Dawson with breezy but enthralling visuals from Margaux Saltel and Tom B. Long. RATING: BUY.
Black Cat #4 (Marvel Comics)
Jump from the Read Pile. The old saying "be careful what you wish for" exists for so many reasons, and this very engaging issue exhibits one of them. The mission: stealing from the Fantastic Four. Yes, even the combination of words seems insane, and the reasons why are very clearly exhibited here in the issue with wonderful detail. Aside from the spoiler-heavy plot twists and developments, the camaraderie between two supporting characters has a Rosencrantz and Guildenstern feel that's very enjoyable. This Jed McCay script knows how to get you going and the artwork from Travel Foreman, Brian Reber and Ferran Delgado deliver hijinks that captivate. RATING: BUY.
Wonder Twins #7 (DC Comics)
Extinction level event in six hours! Tours of the Hall of Justice! The loneliest superhero ever! With literally one exception (the hockey joke was a little too easy), this issue is absolutely spectacular, doing everything you need superhero books to do. Jayna is the conscience of the self-contained tale, struggling with her choices and bringing us to a Superman moment so great, it should be read aloud by Tyler Hoechlin (he's really the Superman we need, not that BvS Cavill guy, who's the Superman we collectively deserve). On the other hand, Zan brings an accidental competency that is reminiscent of Johnny Storm, charming in a way that's very engaging despite his apparent foppishness. Writer Mark Russell is a monstrous talent and this issue has him bringing another script that hits pretty much all the right notes. Likewise, the art team of Stephen Byrne and Dave Sharpe bring you visual storytelling that handles every moment perfectly. RATING: BUY.
Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #48 (Marvel Comics)
Wow. Okay, you know how super villains like to monologue? Well, normally that's fine because this title character can mostly talk them down. This issue takes monologuing in a new and super effective direction as even a guest appearance from an Avenger can't settle things before a huge escalation. There is so much to like in this clever Ryan North script, from advanced computer science (which really came in handy) to advanced philosophy to one of the most well thought out super villain plots in recent history. The visuals from Derek Charm, Rico Renzi and Travis Lanham only accentuate the fantastic script, which gets so much done in such a short time. This comic book is amazing. RATING: BUY.
Batman And The Outsiders #5 looked great and had some engaging character interactions and a tense set up to its centerpiece of action, but it didn't give enough plot development to justify a ride home. RATING: HONORABLE MENTION.
Starcadia Quest #1 is an interesting tale of young, disenfranchised people struggling to find a place in a brutal, gun toting society by skirting around the rules with enriching digital lives. No, it's not the real world, but it extrapolates lots of familiar ideas into intriguing science fiction concepts. Why wasn't that enough? The cartoony artwork, possibly based on some game, throws off the whole thing. The book feels like playing Starfox from back in the day with a lot less shooting after you're used to modern graphics. This isn't bad, but it could have worked as a prose work better than sequential art. RATING: HONORABLE MENTION.
Doctor Strange #19 was a quick done-in-one story that seemed to bring some pretty high stakes for a trip to the library, but rushed by them so quickly that one could barely consider the consequences. Urgency was the name of the game in this issue, but with such a dull yet surprisingly effective antagonist, it just missed the mark. RATING: HONORABLE MENTION.
Outer Darkness #10 was so, so close to making the jump thanks to a plot that took a grimmer turn on a very old trope, which actually drove characters to make changes in their lives. It's a skillful use of the idea, and only the thin characterization kept this issue on the stands. RATING: HONORABLE MENTION.
Reaver #3 has a lot going for it, with a group of miscreants thrown together for an impossible mission in a fantasy world. To get the big mission done, three of their number -- the roguish fop, the lethal little assassin and the plain Jane fighter with secrets -- need to do a stealth mission ... "more or less." The art is fantastic, the grit of the world feels lived in and engaging, but its large cast is a deficit in terms of giving each time to shine. This is gonna make one heck of a TPB one day. RATING: HONORABLE MENTION.
Invisible Woman #3 was a distinct improvement and very close to making it home as it delivered a brilliant new use of Sue Storm's powers (even though she kept letting air in, which is weird), spinning out her secret life in espionage to interesting outcomes and stylishly delivering every panel. The literal only thing stopping this from making the jump was the vagueness of the actual threat. RATING: HONORABLE MENTION.
While the legendary Corsair has another action scene well worth seeing, Doctor Who The Thirteenth Doctor #12 is sappy and saccharine with an all-too-facile conclusion and virtually nothing for the companions to do. RATING: MEH.
WHAT'S THE PROGNOSIS?
Two jumps! Five purchases! Lots of good attempts and zero stinky comics? Sweet Kwanzaa, this is one of the best weeks for comics in months! Hooray!
Also, last week, this column erroneously should have listed Going To The Chapel #1 from Action Lab Entertainment as an honorable mention for its breakneck fun. Apologies to the creative team and publishers.
Have you checked out season four of the free web comic Project Wildfire: The Once and Future King? While you can, read the whole thing for the best possible price: "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 to try and review the work, 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!