The Buy Pile: Ironheart, Wonder Twins & Squirrel Girl Are The Cool Kids

Ironheart #7


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 #7 (Marvel Comics)

At its heart, this issue is super engaging, as Riri teams up with another girl genius, Nadia Pym, to tackle a surprise that comes to the windy city. Alongside Riri's very pop culture savvy friend Xavier (who is a delight), they take something that could have been cliche and turn it into something gripping, wrestling with a power they barely understand. This Eve Ewing script is efficient and welcoming, letting each character (even Riri's mom, who appears for just a moment) shine. The visuals from Luciano Vecchio, Geoffo, Matt Milla and Clayton Cowles handle conversations and fight scenes with equivalent aplomb. RATING: BUY.

Wonder Twins #5 (DC Comics)

Wonder Twins #5
Things get deep but stay funny in Wonder Twins #5.

Believe it or not, this is one of the most innovative and intriguing books on the stands. The titular protagonists are so good at what they do, they're barely needed for most of this issue, having an amazing fight scene and setting a very complex series of events into motion. The ripple effects of their work leads to some very desperate decisions based on the basic inequities built into western society, and that really makes things get interesting for the shocker last page. Writer Mark Russell is a teensy bit heavy handed with his script, but the punchline works so well from such a complex set up. The artwork from Stephen Byrne and Dave Sharpe is vibrant and enjoyable with clear visual storytelling at every turn. RATING: BUY.

Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #45 (Marvel Comics)

Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #45
Things are sure to go nuts in Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #45.

One of the reasons why this book has consistently been so amazing is that it keeps finding new and more creative ways to showcase Doreen Green's actual super power: the ability to befriend virtually anyone. A lot of the real work in this issue centers around a frost giant nicknamed Daisy (which almost certainly cannot be her actual name) as a Norse goddess had brand new experiences unlike any other in their long lived existence (and, factually, may have become the best possible nemesis for Squirrel Girl). This issue dances along with the crossover almost nobody is talking about and manages to make it work because this story is intensely personal, with stakes that are apparent immediately and cleverly drive the plot. Writer Ryan North is a genius for turning in yet another shockingly effective script that, by all logical means, should not work (and please don't skip the jokes in the margins, almost worth buying the book just for them), and the art from Derek Charm, Rico Renzi and Travis Lanham make even a retelling of a classic work of literature effective and emotional. There is so much good jammed into this book, everybody. RATING: BUY.

Immortal Hulk #19 is literally horrifying as Betty Ross explains exactly who she is, and who she may have always been, and it's messy. This issue was very close to making it home, by playing its cards close to the vest and keeping it very horror based. The biggest deficits were the safety of the actual antagonist, as sloppy as he was, and the poor showing by the protagonist. RATING: HONORABLE MENTION.

Spencer And Locke 2 #3 is a real mixed bag. There's an extended sequence set in Nazi Germany that's, at best, ill considered. That's a problem, because it takes up a lot of panel time. On the other hand, a child decides to live up to her name, and that was both brilliant and emotionally engaging to observe. The art here is great, no matter what twists and turns, there's a clever lettering trick to help you with the changing narration, but there's simply too much going on for this to work together. RATING: HONORABLE MENTION.

Champions #6 had one of the grandest shows of power from Victor Alvarez ever, and really showed that he could maybe finish off this whole War of the Realms by himself (seriously, a force that made literal gods hesitate bounced off him like it was nothing). Unfortunately, the story itself didn't have much to do, middling along in the periphery of the larger meta narrative, but at least a long standing Ms. Marvel story point got some resolution. RATING: HONORABLE MENTION.

Superior Spider-Man #7 was kind of entertaining for the interactions between its bombastic lead character, Quentin Quire, Gwenpool (going full meta here) and America Chavez. However, as plots go this doesn't heave much room to run and its bland antagonists are as cookie cutter as they come. Not bad, but as Gwenpool herself says, you could just wait it out and it won't matter. RATING: HONORABLE MENTION.

Catwoman #12 was about 1/3 as charming as that diaphanous Black Cat issue last week with significantly less coherency. It was very "go go go" but not very clean in getting where it was trying to be. RATING: MEH.

In Superman #12, the retcons have been retconned so hard that they might be retcons, promising a retcon so large next issue that you might have already read it. The “truth” is revealed, and behind that is more “truth,” and all of that is wrapped in more “truth” like a big truth burrito with lots of punching and space weapons and angry intergalactic armies and ... listen. Superman himself is maybe the third or fourth most compelling character in this book and ... no, wait, Krypto is here, so maybe fifth. Anyway, this book is a mess and should be stopped. RATING: NO. JUST ... NO.

Hawkman #13 was dripping in cliche and read like a Wiki entry come to life. The saccharine conclusion and dull witted nature of its lead didn't help. RATING: NO. JUST ... NO.

Age Of X-Man Apocalypse And The X-Tracts #4 reveals that the fix is in, that everything you know is a lie and -- again -- this entire crossover is a waste of not just your time, but your money. When Eye Boy is the most compelling character here, it may be time to examine what we're doing. In the words of that great philosopher Kirk Jones, "bu-bu-bu-but wait, it gets worse ..." RATING: NO. JUST ... NO.

When Scooby pulls the mask off the ghost and it's just the old caretaker ... but the old caretaker is actually the head of the network that airs Scooby Doo, that's the kind of feeling you get reading Age Of X-Man The Marvelous X-Men #5, what looks like the penultimate chapter in a crossover that is unraveling like that sweater Weezer sang about. RATING: NO. JUST ... NO.

Like a bad debt that you can’t shake, Batman Who Laughs #6 drags on from the insultingly bad Dark Nights: Metal crossover, continuing that foolishness here in multidimensional meanderings, sloppy looking visual storytelling that looks like someone spilled something on half the pages and four different Bruce Waynes, for some unknown reason. It's tiring, this issue is, like one of those interminable holiday dinner conversations with the relative everyone else successfully avoided. Please, stop. RATING: NO. JUST ... NO.


Despite the fact that the three winners were insanely smart and engaging, five bad books is hard to overcome, putting the whole week in the round file.


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." There's only one more week left ...

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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