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 SEPT. 18, 2019
Star Trek Year Five #6 (IDW Publishing)
Madness has gripped the crew of the Enterprise and only Lt. Uhura has any idea about what's happening. Using the fundamentals of the scientific process, she's instrumental in the conclusion of this effective storyline. Other characters get great moments as well -- chock up another note from Bones about what he isn't -- in a Jody Houser script that sticks the landing. The visual storytelling from Silvia Califano, Thomas Deer and Neil Uyetake moves this clever, energetic story along effectively. RATING: BUY.
Transformers #12 (IDW Publishing)
Jump from the Read Pile. Well, well, well, this is something entirely new! Nautica is the head of xenorelations on an exploratory and diplomatic mission headed by the arguable (and argumentative) head of Cybertron, First Senator Sentinel Prime. Along for the ride is only one other familiar face: head of intelligence Starscream, scheming and observing megaannums before we get used to it. Here's the best thing about this issue: Nautica is smart -- an inquisitive soul with a love for discovery and an inquisitive, solution-based nature. She also has a bodyguard called Road Rage who is like a more taciturn version of Sideswipe. When she sees something out of place, she decides trusting the amoral or hair triggered is a bad choice and makes moves on her own, making this self-contained story of interstellar motives simply fascinating due to her agency. This Brian Ruckley script steps it up several notches into serious science fiction territory while the crystal clear, easy to follow visual storytelling of Sara Pitre-Durocher, Joana LaFuente and Tom B. Long make this a true page turner. This is the prehistory of Cybertron we've been waiting to see! RATING: BUY.
Star Wars Doctor Aphra #36 (Marvel Comics)
Jump from the Read Pile. By this time next year, if you look up "hoisted by one's own petard," it will have this issue referenced. You'd think that so much monologuing would be a dry, dreary affair, but oh no ... this is something special. Whether you know it or not, every Doctor Aphra story has built up to this wicked, wicked conclusion. Every page of this issue is dripping with smarm and self-congratulations as plans within plans within plans become revealed in the most delightful method ever. Writer Simon Spurrier goes full Jack McKinney, weaving together such elegance from so many disparate parts. The art from Wilton Santos, Cris Bolton, Walden Wong, Chris O'Halloran and Joe Caramagna bring the tension and threat to the reader with deftness and aplomb. RATING: BUY.
Lots and lots of people are talking about House of X #5, and they should be. This is a continuity bending, rule-changing, table flipping declaration of a comic book. Between Goldballs (Goldballs?!), "Wakandan Economic Protectorate" and "I could not be more proud," this issue takes a good long look at the entirety of the franchise's history and says, "here's how it all works together." If it was an actual story instead of a set of dramatized Wiki entries, this would be a modern masterpiece. As it is ... RATING: HONORABLE MENTION.
Superman #15 was very close to the mark due to its very effective manipulation (in a good way) of existing feelings about the characters. You get a glimpse of Brainiac 5, Saturn Girl, Lightning Lad and other names familiar to long time Legion fans. Unfortunately, if those names are alien concepts to you, this book is largely opaque, a set of in jokes that doesn't give you anything if you didn't already have a lot of it. You need to snap this up if you've ever yelled, "Long live the Legion!" If you haven't, it's nice that everybody seems so happy, but you'll likely have no idea why. RATING: HONORABLE MENTION.
Black Panther and The Agents of Wakanda #1 is a very fun, if incomplete, start to a step above the craziness S.H.I.E.L.D. dealt with. Given a nearly impossible last-page reveal (yikes) and a breezy introduction to action, this had a lot of charm but didn't complete its thought. Let's hope the pacing evens out because the cast (Fat Cobra!) is engaging. RATING: HONORABLE MENTION.
G.I. Joe #1 is very much a product of its time: a team of everyday heroes alongside the names we know and love, fighting against a triumphant Cobra running a fascist regime across the country. Yeah, a little on the nose, but the artwork is amazeballs and the action scenes are noteworthy. Let's see if casting the former tools of an imperial power as a scrappy resistance works, because this issue was all appetizer. RATING: HONORABLE MENTION.
Valkyrie: Jane Foster #3 is weird (in a good way) and cursory and beautiful and action-packed, and doesn't really do much more than posture, but baby it does it with style. Sizzle over steak, form over function, this is pop comics and that's not bad unless you need a meal instead of a snack. RATING: HONORABLE MENTION.
Just when Teen Titans #34 was warming itself up like it was gonna be something and it throws that curveball ending that has you scrunch-facing not just the issue, but the series. Great build up, terrible conclusion. RATING: MEH.
Justice League #32 felt like watching a movie in fast-forward. Despite some great poses and bon mots from the leads, it was so noisy and so overly busy that a gorilla with a baby strapped to him barely even registers any more. RATING: MEH.
Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #3 is trying really hard to be clever and kitschy, but it mostly just falls flat. From super-convenient and heavily contrived plot elements to horrible things that get brushed past for a gag, this is bad comedy. RATING: NO. JUST ...NO.
WHAT'S THE PROGNOSIS?
One bad book can't beat that trio of winners so this week comes out on top!
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!