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 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 ...
THE BUY PILE FOR FEBRUARY 13, 2019
Ironheart #3 (DC Comics)
Jump from the Read Pile. Again, this issue does it all, balancing characterization and plot with spectacle as an old mystery is fleshed out, developed and an antagonist is brought to the foreground (despite swinging a little outside of their normal weight class). From a craft standpoint, this issue can do no wrong and from a character perspective, you get to see the lead be good at what she does while still struggling, a big challenge for many protagonists these days. Eve Ewing nails the tone and the rationales for character behavior with her script while Luciano Vecchio, Geoffo, Matt Milla and Clayton Cowles make every moment an event. RATING: BUY.
Wonder Twins #1 (DC Comics)
Jump from the Read Pile. This ... is a surprise. By accepting the inherently ridiculous nature of the characters, this very sneaky, Easter egg-packed issue (yes, that is El Dorado) succeeds by sticking to its guns and never blinking. The story is this: two twin teens have ruined their chances at a normal life on their homeworld, so Superman, well meaning hayseed that he is, brings them to Earth and makes them interns with the Justice League. We learn disturbing things about Batman's musical tastes, find out about the mating rituals of an alien culture and generally send up every possible trope while still telling an engaging, clever story. The spandex-tight Mark Russell script here is a treat, and the distinctive, effective visuals from Stephen Byrne and Dave Sharpe do not fail on any point. This is one hell of a fun book; you should read it. RATING: BUY.
Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #41 (Marvel Comics)
This issue is brilliant in an all new way that sets a new paradigm for defeating the likes of Lex Luthor, The Riddler and their egotistical ilk. Ms. Quizzler shows up with death traps, bombastic pronouncements and an almost ritualistic methodology. Ryan North delivers with another inventive, engaging script while Naomi Franquiz, Rico Renzi and Travis Lanham make a very erudite topic engaging and visually enthralling. "Well played," indeed. RATING: BUY.
Outer Darkness #4 Image Comics)
Jump from the Read Pile. Unlike the other winners this week, this issue is mean spirited and brutal in all the best ways. A space ship partially run by magic rockets towards an uncertain destiny and keeps getting caught on more and more dangerous side quests that play into the idiosyncracies of its eccentric crew. A dictatorial captain, a stoic first officer who's part Cyclonus and part Spock, a navigator (the focal point of this issue) who's hiding SO MUCH that it's hilarious to read back and see him amongst the rest of the players here. John Layman is writing one super engaging mash up of fantasy and sci fi here, and the artwork from Afu Chan and Pat Brosseau bring this intricate, immersive experience to life. This is great! RATING: BUY.
Impossible Incorporated #4 is the Fantastic Four book you wish you were reading, a deluge of delightfully gigantic ideas washing over you like sun speckled Memphis rain. The lead character monologues too much but the characterization is great ... which can't be said for the supporting cast, much less well defined than they need to be. This is a mixed bag, but it's one of the bravest books you'll find in the stands, and that's very close to making it home, even with its faults. RATING: HONORABLE MENTION.
Flash #64 started to do some real character work, building a relationship between two detectives and actually making them seem like friends. Unfortunately, the ridiculous antagonist, hiding a shadowier bigger boss somewhere, did nothing to really compel or make impressive stakes. Swing and a miss. RATING: HONORABLE MENTION.
Star Wars Age Of Republic Count Dooku #1 was a fun if somewhat predictable romp with heavy voiceover as the titular Sith apprentice manipulates matters to help the formation of the Separatist movement (so this takes place after The Phantom Menace but significantly before Attack of the Clones) on a planet he deems, at best, inelegant. There's a naive young Jedi and there's a seamy criminal underworld and just saying those things can probably tell you what ends up happening. Solidly told if somewhat unsurprising. RATING: HONORABLE MENTION.
Livewire #3 would have been much more effective if the long lost "sibling" who returns to disassemble the lead character had been more relevant in, oh, anything before this. Even if the character had been sprinkled in flashbacks or quoted in stories leading up to this. As good as the art and fight scenes (and, frankly, arguments made by the antagonist) are, they're like sitting down to eat a dinner that's half cooked, or, oh, most DC cinematic attempts. To build character, one has to do the work, and this antagonist hasn't received such a gift. Shame. RATING: HONORABLE MENTION.
Winter Soldier #3 wasn't too bad despite a derivative element at its core. The character work was top notch, the character motivations clear and effective, and a somewhat ridiculous character was made into a serious threat, which was impressive. Had the core idea not been so directly carbon copied, given how many in universe methods there are to do a very similar thing, this might have made it home. RATING: HONORABLE MENTION.