WHAT IS THE BUY PILE?
Every week Hannibal Tabu (winner of the 2012 Top Cow Talent Hunt/blogger/novelist/poet/jackass on Twitter/head honcho of Komplicated) grabs a whole lotta comics. These periodicals are quickly sorted (how) into two piles -- the "buy" pile (a small pile most weeks, comprised of planned purchases) and the "read" pile (often huge, often including comics that are really crappy but have some value to stay abreast of). Thursday afternoons you'll be able to get his thoughts (and they're just the opinions of one guy, so calm down, and here's some common definitions used in the column) about all of that ... which goes something like this ...
THE BUY PILE FOR SEPTEMBER 7, 2016
Cyborg Rebirth #1 (DC Comics)
Jump from the Read Pile.
It's important to start with the amazing level of craft this issue shows. Through narrative means, literally every possible question you might have is answered, and not in a dumb "this could be a wiki entry" way. This issue wholly establishes Cyborg as a hero, shows you a plausible timeline for his adventures, explores his complex relationship with his father and knocks down several billion dollars worth of property. Writer John Semper Jr. shows his TV credentials by making it all a wonderfully neat package, with the visual skills of Paul Pelletier, Sandra Hope, Tony Kordos, Guy Major and Rob Leigh bringing it to life. A story with stakes, characters that are clearly depicted ... that's a doggone good comic book!
Skybourne #1 (BOOM! Studios)
Jump from the Read Pile.
Sweet spirit singing, this is freaking entertaining. It is fast paced and kinetic and captures all the velocity of a well-paced action movie. On top of that, it's simply gorgeously depicted -- Frank Cho and Marcio Menyz showcase a realistic looking world and characters doing amazing things in it. There's just enough of a hook with the surprises herein to make you satisfied with what's here, and excited to see a new issue coming -- that's not an easy thing to pull off. Strap in, hang on, and have a good time -- this is one high octane comic book!
Night's Dominion #1
Jump from the Read Pile.
This bold, ambitious debut is one of the best sword and sorcery fantasy comics available right now. Written and illustrated by Ted Naifeh, this story does lots of things right: introducing a varied and intriguing cast of characters (cleric, thief, mage and so on) that any TSR veteran would recognize, while giving each one some legitimacy in a scene that would have worked on Mos Eisley. Great atmosphere, the story itself concluded well, it points towards more interesting things to come and invests the reader in the players. Great stuff.
WHAT'S THE PROGNOSIS?
A fantastic showing for books that earned their way home.
THIS WEEK'S READ PILE
Honorable Mentions: Stuff worth noting, even if it's not good enough to buy
"Eclipse" #1 was extremely close to making it home with a well-considered plot and a brilliant premise. The sun can burn humans without rare, special temperature-regulating suits alive, so mankind cedes the surface during the day. When a man is killed by being left to burn in the sun, it triggers the plot's machinations. Only the wafer-thin characterization kept this book from coming home, and if the wild ideas keep coming, that may not be an impediment next time.
"Kill Or Be Killed" #2 was a solid modern-noirish tale tinted with a soupcon of the supernatural as it followed a man with an unpleasant debt to pay. Good character work, skillful plotting and depictions, and if you like noir this is top notch stuff.
"Doctor Who The Ninth Doctor" #5 was a little closer to the mark with the titular Time Lord making good use of that iteration's physicality and capacity for crankiness while delivering some great visuals. The conclusion and the "antagonist" were a little facile but this was an improvement.
"Jughead" #9 was weird and funny, as the burger-loving high schooler finds himself with a strange attraction he cannot explain. This leads to a last page twist that will be interesting if you know the Archie characters very well. A cute, all-ages story that maybe plays better to the nostalgia set than anyone else.
"Blood And Dust" #2 was close to making the jump with some thrilling moments and some character development, but it was still a half step too slow and didn't do itself any favors with its abrupt ending.
"Gold Digger" #236 had some interesting trans-dimensional science stuff going on as the protagonist chased some universe hopping villain. The supporting character also had an interesting arc as she found something she'd always wanted. Not bad, but the plot was very inconclusive.
"Fuse" #21 was pretty close to the mark and was new reader friendly (despite the front page's insistence that this is confusing), as a conspiracy weaves its way between the police force of a space station and the mayor's office. This is an effective science fiction police procedural that doesn't have quite enough plot development in the single issue but seems like it would fit more effectively in a longer work, like a TPB.
"Sheriff Of Babylon" #10 starts off with one set of circumstances and proceeds, methodically, to invert, pervert and remix everything you think you know about those circumstances. It's slow but clever, methodical but finishes strong and had it not kept its brilliance so far sub rosa, it would have made the jump.
The "Meh" Pile Not good enough to praise, not bad enough to insult, they just kind of happened ..."Doctor Strange" #11, "Batman" #6, "Everafter From The Pages Of Fables" #1, "Marvel Universe Avengers Ultron Revolution" #3, "Supergirl" #1, "Glitterbomb" #1, "A&A The Adventures Of Archer And Armstrong" #7, "Spidey" #10, "Green Arrow" #6, "Walking Dead" #158, "Deadpool And The Mercs For Money" #3, "Harley Quinn" #3, "Superman" #6, "Uncanny X-Men" #12, "Grimm Fairy Tales Presents Grimm Tales Of Terror Volume 2" #12, "Ninjak" #19, "Bloodlines" #6, "Squadron Supreme" #11, "Mercury Heat" #11, "Boo The World's Cutest Dog" #1, "All-New All-Different Avengers" #14, "Sex" #31, "Beauty" #10, "Red One" #3, "Justice League" #4, "Silk" #12, "Great Divide" #1, "Paper Girls" #9, "Unfollow" #11, "Invincible Iron Man" #13, "Faster Than Light" #10, "Marvel Tsum Tsum" #2, "Aquaman" #6, "Nowhere Men" #11, "Daredevil" #11, "Assassin's Creed Templars" #5, "Nightwing" #4, "Six" #8, "Batman Beyond" #16, "Star Wars Poe Dameron" #6.
No, just ... no ... These comics? Not so much ...
"Moon Knight" #6 reads like a fever dream that fell into a copy of "Ulysses" by James Joyce. That isn't intended as praise. A hot mess dancing between the three alleged identities of the titular character ... doing a lot of nothing, basically. This whole book stood in place, looking goofy. Well drawn, ill conceived.
In "Flintstones" #3, aliens come to visit Bedrock and literally nothing goes well for anyone. Things that should be permanently destabilizing for an entire society are brushed off, a familiar character from later seasons is introduced in a very frustrating way and -- typically -- a Black guy is killed to motivate the emotional arc of a white guy. Seriously, how is a comic book this bad getting past people to get to the market? Wow.
SO, HOW BAD WAS IT?
Two bad books are a bit extreme, but "Eclipse" and the Doctor and some other indies shined brightly.
WINNERS AND LOSERS
Three jumps beat two challenged comics, so the week can safely be called a winner.
Did you see the writer of this column on That Nerd Soul podcast, talking about "Teen Titans: The Judas Contract?" Worth a listen.
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 "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 the work will get reviewed, 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!