The Buy Pile: Ironheart, Doctor Aphra & Star Trek All Get Smart

Ironheart #5


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 an 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 ...


Ironheart #5 (Marvel Comics)

Jump from the Read Pile. With such amazing characterization, this Eve Ewing-penned tale makes up for the limited scope in the last issue with a brilliant plot, a well defined antagonist in the short and long term, and a wonderful, efficient and fitting show of heroism, with even someone new to the work showing a great deal of promise. This is the hero we deserve, brought to vivid and refreshingly mature life by Luciano Vecchio, Geoffo, Matt Milla and Clayton Cowles. RATING: BUY.

Star Trek Year Five #1 (IDW Publishing)

Star Trek Year Five #1
Boldly go out and buy Star Trek Year Five #1.

Jump from the Read Pile. This super enjoyable work has a terrifying fidelity to the tone and style of the original series, wonderfully capturing every nuance of the show. The pacing and style are great and there's a lot of character work that shines brightly. This script by Jackson Lanzing and Collin Kelly is a real gift for Trekkies of every stripe and the crisp, delightful artwork from Stephen Thompson, Charlie Kirchoff and Neil Uyetake is like deep space catnip. You'll be shocked by how much you enjoy this issue. RATING: BUY.

Star Wars Doctor Aphra #31 (Marvel Comics)

Star Wars Doctor Aphra #31
The galaxy has its eye on Star Wars Doctor Aphra #31.

Jump from the Read Pile. It's been a long, wild, winding road but the bombs implanted in the titular character and the galaxy's most devious droid are counting down to their final moments with an entire planet watching. Imperial Public Relations failed to heed Shawn Carter's "Takeover" philosophy as it refers to stormtrooper deployments, and that's a hoot. There is a poetic conclusion to the narrative here that is both surprisingly poignant and superbly evil, and the artwork from Emilio Laiso, Andrea Broccardo, Rachelle Rosenberg and Joe Caramagna really brings this sweeping, emotional Simon Spurrier script to life. This is a bumpy, but superbly enjoyable ride. RATING: BUY.

Remember the spectacle of The Authority when it first hit? Wild Storm #22 sure as heck does, delivering no fewer than two jaw dropping moments and a decent number of "whoas." The reasons behind all the sturm und drang are hiding in previous issues, if you're inclined to look, but this sure is something to see. RATING: HONORABLE MENTION.

Ascender #1 is not bad, the start of a magic-inflected space opera with all female leads. The visuals are a little rougher and more washed out than they should be, the visual design is nothing special and the plot cuts short where it should dig deep. There is a kind of charm and atmosphere here that might warrant further attention. RATING: HONORABLE MENTION.

Star Wars Vader Dark Visions #3 is the sad reality of those who love serial killers, a delusional narrative constructed only in one mind. The Dark Lord of the Sith has a personal physician on the Death Star, and his nurse ... well, let's just say she has an interest in someone tall, dark and lightsaber-wielding. This done in one isn't bad but even its sole moment of undeniable truth was kind of predictable. A fitting but likely forgettable moment in Star Wars history. RATING: HONORABLE MENTION.

Doctor Strange #13 had some moments that were kooky in the extreme as Galactus runs amok in a dimension of pure magic, but it drifts from moment to moment without much coherence nor much chance for its protagonist to not look like a schmuck. RATING: MEH.

Silencer #16 was a better idea than an actually executed comic as the bare bones antagonist chopped relentlessly through this issue like a T-1000 but it’s a song with a singular note. Not bad, no, but not giving the characters with actually interesting motivations room to shine. RATING: MEH.

Star Wars Galaxy's Edge #1 does a good job of capturing the vibe of multiple eras, but the plot leaves a lot to be lacking and the only real characterization happens in a flashback to characters not even in this story. RATING: MEH.

Punk Mambo #1 follows an entitled woman of means who has colonized the work and cultures of other people for her own purposes, suddenly forced to rely on her own resources. Maybe Emma Stone or Scarlett Johansson could play this role. Anyway, plot wise this doesn't do much, character wise it does even less and from conception to execution, this strives for adequacy but falls short. RATING: NO. JUST ... NO

Even in the most questionable episodes of Agents of SHIELD, one thing was always certain -- that Agent Phil Coulson was a good guy. Well, Avengers #18 will make you wanna throw the whole Coulson in the trash while also taking a lot of good things David Walker did in his Nighthawk run and throwing them away directly after. There's a new Squadron Supreme ... and they're a thing, or something. This issue is less bad than baffling, like, why do this? Is this supposed to be entertaining? Is this a gaslighting thing like Stevil? Hateful, honestly, and needless at best, this is not "one more day" we need. RATING: NO. JUST ... NO.

Heroes In Crisis #8 is wrong. This issue is, without equivocation or mitigation, wrong, like 2 + 2 equalling "salamander." Some of the reasons why would be spoilers, completely eschewed by this column, for those who would rather ... well "enjoy" this work isn't quite the right verb, given what's at play here, but let's go with "be surprised."

And there is a surprise here -- how tone deaf the creators herein are to the needless dragging of a proposed paragon through morally inelegant waters is a slippery slope, how it not only undermines the work of making modern myth, but it drives to the final resting places of Broome and Infantino to personally befoul the legacies of their work.

Yes, this work is lovingly drawn and colored, lettered with the most delicate of care. In conception, and execution, however, this comic book is an attack on everything we have claimed to hold dear, on truth, justice and the American way itself, and should be shunned with all deliberate haste and vigor. RATING: NO. JUST ... NO.


Rough going for a while but the jumps at least got the week to break even.


A Nerdist documentary featuring this column's writer won a Webby Award, thanks to people like you, so thank you for voting if you were so inclined!

Have you checked out season four of the free web comic Project Wildfire: The Once and Future King? Every week catch a page of the story 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!

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