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 JULY 10, 2019
Amazing Spider-Man #25 (Marvel Comics)
Jump from the Read Pile. This comic book has forty truly great pages of comics entertainment that let a supporting character step spectacularly into the lead, showed the book's protagonist at his impossibly optimistic best (while doing great action scenes) and entertained relentlessly. Even at the inflated cost, that's worth the money, but then you get even more storytelling that ranges from passable (a long trailer-filled speech) to pretty good (an unexpected team up). This book is super entertaining, ties every plot thread together wonderfully and covers so much ground that it could be called Rand-McNally. Outstanding work from Nick Spencer, Ryan Ottley, Humberto Ramos, Patrick Gleason, Kev Walker, Cliff Rathburn, Victor Olazaba, Dexter Vines, Nathan Fairbairn, Edgar Delgado, Dave Stewart, Laura Martin, Joe Caramagna, Zeb Wells, Todd Nauck and Rachelle Rosenberg. RATING: BUY.
Reaver #1 (Image Comics)
Jump from the Read Pile. Take a dash of Force 10 from Navarone, smear it liberally with Dungeons and Dragons sauce (stock fighter, fencer, rogue that Sam Riegel could appreciate, barbarian, sorcerer, paladin) and use plausible deniability to set them on a magic-influenced quest towards an impossibly impressive set piece, maybe winning a war and you’ve really got something. First of all, yes, all of that, but then throw in a great character tie between the stock fighter and the barbarian (as archetypes, not specifically that), make the fencer and rogue quote machines, give the wizard and paladin a touch of creepiness and know what you get? You get a brilliantly executed fantasy story from Justin Jordan, Rebekah Isaacs, Alex Guimaraes and the always dependable Clayton Cowles that's as fun and re-readable as a dog eared fantasy tome from your childhood. Please, much more of this. RATING: BUY.
Wonder Twins #6 (DC Comics)
One of the problems with superhero comics is the need, at the end of the day, to put all the toys back in their proper place. Heroes can't end poverty or corruption, because they need something to do next issue. This Mark Russell script takes that issue on with such deft skill and such crafty elegance that it's a mickey fickey miracle to behold. Using the wonderfully developed characterizations of a brilliant but possibly overqualified young hero and her blissfully oblivious twin brother as the foundation, this issue included one of the most brutally truthful pages in recent memory and a solution that made sense while leaving every door open for more. This masterpiece was depicted by Stephen Byrne and Dave Sharpe, and against the odds, this gets better every issue. RATING: BUY.
Ironheart #8 (Marvel Comics)
Like listening to "Red Clay" by Freddie Hubbard, every note in this issue is perfect, escalating from establishing a basic benchmark through great characterization to an effective fight scene and raising the stakes beyond that. Eve Ewing seems like she was built to write comics with a script that dances elegantly through continuity while staying true to the core of who this heroine is (the regional beverage bit is solid freaking gold). Fantastic and crisp visual storytelling from Luciano Vecchio, Geoffo, Matt Milla and Clayton Cowles bring this story to vibrant, gorgeous life. RATING: BUY.
Six Million Dollar Man #5 had some moments of amusing banter (Steve Austin got jokes!) and an antagonist who will stick unpleasantly in your mind, but the conclusion was strange and off putting and didn't make the most sense. This sure nailed a fun, whimsical tone and while it wasn't a star turn, it wasn't bad. RATING: HONORABLE MENTION.
Black Cat #2 was almost as good as its predecessor, with great charm for the lead and her supporting cast. Too much time was spent explaining the new addition and not enough focusing on the heist or the true antagonist, so the plot balance was off a little, but there was fun here and some indications we could return to form in due time. RATING: HONORABLE MENTION.
Critical Role Vox Machina Origins Series II #1 had all of the deft plotting and careful considerations you expect from one of the industry's most lauded dungeon masters. Unfortunately, it had only the teensiest smidgen of the characters that enthrall -- a nickname here, a pithy comment there, blissful obliviousness somewhere else -- so unless you love these characters already you'll need a little more depth to get on board. This issue looks fantastic and has great ideas, it just needs little more flavor to its characterizations. RATING: HONORABLE MENTION.
Outer Darkness #8 was a swing back towards excellence with a self-contained story of a deep cover assignment gone catastrophically wrong. When good people do bad things, it can get messy, but here those kinds of events have a certain charm, if you're up for a mash up of The Orville with The Shining. If we can get more of these character focused works with a smidge more plot development, there could be some "there" there. RATING: HONORABLE MENTION.
Thor #15 is the true "last" issue of the War of the Realms crossover, despite some elements getting expanded on in the "meh"-worthy Omega issue this week. There's a good bit of navel gazing that leads to a big character moment for the Odinson and one of the most messed up things to ever happen to someone, a truly twisted punishment that'd draw applause from the most depraved of torturers. Altogether, it was fleeting fragments, final footnotes of loose ends left to be tied, and that's not quite story enough for your money, but it had its moments of shine and luster. RATING: HONORABLE MENTION.
Event Leviathan #2 was a non-occurrence, a talky abundance of exposition to slowly reveal something explained on the recap page. Too dull to be bad, too slow to suck, if you skipped this issue and cut to issue three, you could get pretty much the same story (based on the info we have on hand). RATING: MEH.
Invisible Woman #1 establishes a secret life for Sue Storm and a possible connection with a government gun that spans a decade. The set up is fine, but there isn't enough story here to justify the cover price. RATING: MEH.
If the concept behind Batman #74 wasn't so patently ridiculous, the structure of it might be compelling. The framing device was well used, and the last panel sold that set up perfectly. Still ... Batman versus Drunken Murder Zaddy Batman from an Old Crossover? RATING: MEH.
Star Wars Age Of Resistance Captain Phasma #1 should be an exploration of the latest ruthless villain in the canon. Instead, its an exercise in what you already know: Phasma does not lead by inspiration, she leads like the top of a pyramid scheme, thoughtlessly using everyone under her for common, almost throwaway goals (or so it seems). The backmatter did more for her character than the entire issue, the plot was forgettable and aside from getting a glance under the helmet, there's little to remember here. RATING: MEH.
Wonder Woman #74 builds up a hugely dangerous threat, resurrected from seemingly settled business, and ... just kind of discards her off panel. Really. Something shiny and interesting pops up and suddenly, everybody just moves on like a cut scene. Super weird, but not wholly terrible. RATING: MEH.
WHAT'S THE PROGNOSIS?
Four purchases? Two jumps? Sweet Kwanzaa, that's a great week of comics.
San Diego surprises next week. hang on.
Have you checked out season four of the free web comic Project Wildfire: The Once and Future King? Read it while you can 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!