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 AUGUST 31, 2016
Eden's Fall #1 (Top Cow/Image Comics)Jump from the Read Pile.This is a super intense and wholly organic coming together of three tonally different concepts that very easily could exist on the same world. A home made militiaman has gotten a second lease on life in a town filled with runaway lunatics and would-be felons. This serves as a catalyst which brings each cast to bear, including the lead from "Think Tank" being a jerk via VOIP and the hard-scrabble mayor of this town-shaped asylum being threatening. Great set up, each character gets at least a moment to shine and the whole thing plays like a sullen, addictive potboiler on a premium channel. Great work by Matt Hawkins, Bryan Edward Hill, Atilio Rojo, K. Michael Russell and Troy Peteri.
Suicide Squad War Crimes Special #1 (DC Comics)Jump from the Read Pile.Things to like about this issue? 1: Crystal clear explanations of who everybody was and what they do in a manner that fit the story. 2: At least three chuckle worthy moments of mean spirited action comedy. 3: The original Amanda Waller is back in the best possible way, and does literally everything right. 4: The visual storytelling by Gus Vasquez, Carlos Rodriguez, Gabe Eltaeb and Nate Piekos was clear, engaging and enjoyable. 5: The Jon Ostrander script was rock solid. A fun done-in-one that capitalizes on the current cultural cache.
WHAT'S THE PROGNOSIS?
Two jumps? Intriguing! Do go on ...
THIS WEEK'S READ PILE
Honorable Mentions: Stuff worth noting, even if it's not good enough to buyThe best part about "Civil War II Choosing Sides" #5 is the middle story, ostensibly about Colleen Wing but truthfully showing why Misty Knight should take over pretty much everything. With a fun and effective action sequence and some gems of dialogue, the biggest problem was that it stopped just when things got really interesting. The Nick Fury ongoing was "meh," and apparently Canadian PM Justin Trudeau smells good, so overall this was too uneven to make it home but had some high points.
"Lazarus" #24 had to interesting stories going on. First, the arguable protagonist has an enormous crisis of conscience, as she discovers things she did not want to know. On the other hand, there is a very fascinating military struggle going on. Neither of these stories were allowed the room they needed to sink in and connect with the reader. Shame.
"All-New Wolverine Annual" #1 had a "Freaky Friday" thing going on with Spider-Gwen ... for reasons that don't make much sense when you really look closely at them. There are a decent number of entertaining moments and Spider-Gwen maaaaaay have gone completely insane, but the plot itself went literally nowhere.
"Cryptocracy" #3 was a lot of world building, a lot of exposition and one really impressive bit of disaster porn. This wasn't bad as it opened the story up quite a bit but characterization got lost in the shuffle.
For the very first time in the series, "Hyperion" #6 took a realistic approach at how a Superman-class power with moral flexibility addresses problems. There was a largely pointless interlude with Tony Stark that revealed a weakness for the titular character, but overall the antagonist was tedious, the stakes low and the consequences forgettable. Great to see Marc finally think about how to fix something for good, though.
In "East Of West" #29, a moment that has built from the very early moments of this title comes to fruition and it's effective if you have been along for the ride. There are some fun (and funny, in a macabre kind of way) action sequences and the Son of Death is quite clever in a Damian Wayne kind of way. Close to making the jump, but a little less robust than the moment should have been.
"Guardians Of The Galaxy" #11 is all cute fun on a space ship until it gets mixed up in the latest dumb crossover. Carol Danvers makes another wildly stupid and horribly easy to predict call that will inevitably lead to senseless shenanigans and fisticuffs. Oh, and Ben Grimm may be space-engaged. Cute moments, wholly vapid sum total.
The "Meh" Pile Not good enough to praise, not bad enough to insult"Thunderbolts" #4, "Gotham Academy Annual" #1, "Postal" #14, "Astonishing Ant-Man" #11, "X-O Manowar" #49, "Jem And The Holograms" #18, "Doctor Who The Eleventh Doctor Year Two" #12, "Rocket Raccoon And Groot" #8, "Saga" #37, "Earth 2 Society Annual" #1, "Ms. Marvel" #10, "Predator Vs Judge Dredd Vs Aliens" #2, "Jim Thompson's The Killer Inside Me" #1, "Grimm Fairy Tales Presents Presents Apocalypse" #1, "Justice League Of America" #9, "Spider-Man 2099" #14, "4001 A.D." #4, "Marvel Universe Guardians Of The Galaxy" #11, "Spawn" #265, "Mighty Morphin Power Rangers" #6, "Equilibrium" #1, "Uncanny Avengers" #13, "Groo Fray Of The Gods" #2, "X-Files Origins" #1, "Army Of Darkness Ash For President" #1, "Deadpool V Gambit" #4, "Transformers" #56, "Afterlife With Archie" #10, "Silver Surfer" #6, "Jupiter's Legacy Volume 2" #3, "Han Solo" #3, "Vikings" #4, "Tokyo Ghost" #10, "X-Men '92" #6, "Mae" #4, "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Universe" #1, "Future Quest" #4, "Spider-Gwen" #11, "James Bond" #9, "Micronauts" #5, "Nova" #10, "Dream Police" #11, "Mighty Zodiac" #5, "Spider-Man" #7, "Bloodshot Reborn" #16, "Harley Quinn And Her Gang Of Harleys" #5, "Amazing Spider-Man" #17.
No, just ... no ... These comics? Not so much ...In "Howard The Duck" #10, writer Chip Zdarsky follows his pattern from "Sex Criminals" by writing himself into the book (as a purple reality altering alien) and engaging as the arguable antagonist. Just like when Stephen King popped up in the "Dark Tower" books, this is an ineffably bad idea, a needlessly meta and "Inside Baseball" approach (even taking a swing at the new "Black Panther" creator in the process) for extremely little narrative payoff. Well drawn, terribly conceived, blandly executed, all around shabby work.
SO, HOW BAD WAS IT?
Hh. Kind of a light week.
WINNERS AND LOSERS
Two jumps defeat even the self-aggrandizing weirdness of "Howard the Duck" so let's say this week is a winner.
You saw that the web comic by this column's writer and Memphis-based artist Quinn McGowan blew up a whole stadium last week, right? It's kind of "turnt up" in there, especially with bringing "Midnight Tiger" to the Operative Network ...
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 and "Executive Assistant Iris Sourcebook" #1, 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!