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The Buy Pile: Teen Heroes & Lost Robots

by  in CBR Exclusives, Comic News Comment
The Buy Pile: Teen Heroes & Lost Robots

The kids are alright in "Champions" #3.


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 …


Champions #3 (Marvel Comics)Jump from the Read Pile.

Man, did this issue cover a lot of ground! First, the teenaged hijinks in the woods showed tons about each character — Viv’s “other”-ness, Ms. Marvel’s earnestness, the frat boy idiocy of one of the world’s nine smartest people — while the main plot tackled a hugely complex international issue about human rights and in the process made a supporting character a freaking star. Mark Waid hit literally every note right with this script, and the dynamic, engaging visuals from Humberto Ramos (who knows his way around a Waid script), Victor Olazaba, Edgar Delgado and Clayton Cowles made locales on multiple continents deliver big time. If this can happen every month, we may have a major new title to watch.

"Transformers: More Than Meets The Eye Revolution"

You’ll never see this team up coming in “Transformers: More Than Meets The Eye Revolution” #1.

Transformers: More Than Meets The Eye Revolution #1 (IDW Publishing)Jump from the Read Pile.

This is a strange, strange comic book. Starting in the social media and message board accounts of giant robots, this book gets weirder and more unusual as it travels from deep space to planet earth and a surprise new character joins a crew of cast off Decepticons and one seriously broken Dinobot. There are a number of “whoa” moments, a strange tie with the new shared continuity and much more strange stuff from James Roberts, Nick Roche, Alex Milne, Joana LaFuente and Chris Mowry.


Rock solid start, here.


Honorable Mentions: Stuff worth noting, even if it’s not good enough to buy

“Star Wars Doctor Aphra” #1 shined most when it had the relentless, murderous droid Triple Zero running amok and doing kooky stuff. The not so good doctor is fairly hapless for her own part, doing a bit of a Han Solo charm scheme, and her Wookiee companion is mostly a plot device, so the derivative nature of it is something of a challenge. Not bad, but not as intense as it could have been.

“Micronauts” #8 had riveting action as the teensy protagonists took on threats far larger in size. The plot couldn’t beat its frustrating obscurantism with solid character work, leaving the issue feeling inconclusive and off putting.

“Aquaman” #12 makes some bold choices as Black Manta is effectively able to simulate an Atlantean war effort on the United States. From his side of the table, there are a number of effective moments It fails largely because if any nation state allowed enough of its proprietary technology and military equipment to disappear in sufficient numbers to create a simulated attack, that’s the sign of a failed nation state. If it’s a monarchy, that’s the sign of a failed monarch, pointing the finger at one orange-shirted blond. Maybe Jason Momoa will be a better king …

“Eclipse” #4 had riveting action scenes (the climax was thrilling) but thin characterization on the antagonist and dangerously few answer to the questions raised by the science fiction premise. A shining tease that eludes you.

“Wicked + The Divine” #24 was sexy and gorgeous and lavish and lush and filled with poster-worthy moments. It only traveled a few inches in terms of plot, but it’s something to see.

“Batman” #12 has some great moments of characterization bracketed by some fairly predictable action scenes — Batman beats up an army of redshirts, sure. Gorgeous book, beautiful in an almost David Mack kind of way (but less psychedelic), but a long way to travel a short distance.

“Faith” #6 has earnest, logic based superheroing with a smart female protagonist and decent ties to Valiant continuity. The climax was a bit too facile but the character work was superb.

The “Meh” Pile Not good enough to praise, not bad enough to insult, they just kind of happened …
“Justice League” #10, “Avengers” #2, “Glitterbomb” #4, “Cyborg” #6, “Bounty” #5, “Shade The Changing Girl” #3, “Motor Crush” #1, “Deadman Dark Mansion Of Forbidden Love” #2, “Green Lanterns” #12, “Atomic Robo And The Temple Of Od” #5, “Spider-Man 2099” #18, “Revival” #45, “Nightwing” #10, “Nova” #1, “Big Trouble In Little China Escape From New York” #3, “Unworthy Thor” #2, “Death Of Hawkman” #3, “Ringside” #8, “Ninjak” #22, “Moon Knight” #9, “Wonder Woman ’77 Meets The Bionic Woman” #1, “Savage Dragon” #218, “Everafter From The Pages Of Fables” #4, “Voracious Feeding Time” #1, “Clone Conspiracy” #3, “Belladonna” #3, “A&A The Adventures Of Archer And Armstrong” #10, “Harley Quinn” #9, “Violent Love” #2, “Flash Gordon Kings Cross” #2, “Reggie And Me” #1, “Superman” #12, “Hellchild The Unholy” #2, “Walking Dead” #161, “Deadpool” #23, “Goldie Vance” #8, “Battlestar Galactica Gods And Monsters” #2, “Circle” #1, “Electric Sublime” #3, “Green Arrow” #12, “Scarlet Witch” #13, “Predator Vs Judge Dredd Vs Aliens” #3, “Hard Case Crime Triggerman” #3, “Dirk Gently The Salmon Of Doubt” #3, “Assassin’s Creed Templars” #8, “Midnighter And Apollo” #3, “All-New Wolverine” #15.

No, just … no … These comics? Not so much …
“Flintstones” #6 is a grim, joyless indictment of modern society framed in the loosely adapted trappings of a former children’s cartoon. It’s painful to read and whatever hamfisted lessons it intends to impart are lost in nonsensical imagery and the suffering of apparently sentient animals forced into servitude.


Eh, it could have been worse.


Two jumps and just the predictably bad “Flintstones” book as a problem? That’s a rock solid week to love some doggone comics.


The “Project: Wildfire” web comic is drawing to a close, and escalated unexpectedly … and it’s all over by Kwanzaa. Best way to know what’s next is to join the mailing list.

Oh, and if you’re in San Marcos this Saturday, please come see this columnist signing alongside JT Krul, David Wohl and others at Knowhere Games and Comics.

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!

the buy pile
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