The Buy Pile: Welcome To Image Comics' God Country

"God Country" #1


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 ...


God Country #1 (Image Comics)

Jump from the Read Pile. Whoa. This staggering new idea -- and it is that, a wholly new idea -- does everything right in a pitch perfect first issue. What seems like a fairly by-the-numbers if effectively presented family drama takes a big turn in the third act and becomes something magnificent. Too much to spoil, but the script from writer Donny Cates delivers characters and a plot that work and feel right while the visuals from Geoff Shaw, Jason Wordie, and John J. Hill effectively makes a desolate section of Texas come alive on the page. Where has this book been hiding? Wow.

"Deathstroke" #10
It's a bumpy ride but still pretty good in "Deathstroke" #10

Deathstroke #10 (DC Comics)

Warning: this issue signals a chance for this series to lose its "buy on sight" status. There were some solid developments in small doses -- Rose Wilson using her gifts to bond with her mother's relatives and a flashback for the titular character -- but the story wasn't a single cohesive narrative and meandered too restlessly. There was a lot to enjoy, but this issue didn't stand up to the series' standards. Had this been read before purchasing, it would be an honorable mention, so let's see if it can find its way back to greatness next issue.

"Power Man and Iron Fist" #12
Harlem's heating up in "Power Man and Iron Fist" #12

Power Man And Iron Fist #12 (Marvel Comics)

Despite the super powers and sometimes spectacular (or in Iron Fist's case, laughable) costumes, this is a crime comic done so well. Three rival groups -- the Black Cat and Piranha Jones on one hand, the formerly dead teen genius Alex Wilder on a second and albino crime lord Tombstone as a third -- are all vying for control of the criminal underworld in Harlem. Along the way, the innocent became victims of the system and the guilty saw their crimes washed away, all with two best buds caught in the middle. David Walker's script allows everyone a moment to shine in a harmonic smoothness that makes this book a joy to read. The visuals from Sanford Greene, Lee Loughridge and Clayton Cowles are rough hewn but fitting for the highly kinetic, rough and tumble city streets. This book is a joy to read and almost Shakespearean in its machinations.

"The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl" #16
Get into the Wayback Machine for a secret origin in "The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl" #16

Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #16 (Marvel Comics)

The origin issue is a staple in comics, and with her 25th anniversary as a character (wow!) we look back at the literal origins of Doreen Green, who didn't have to wait until puberty to begin her climb into awesomeness. From what could be the most awesome five-year-old birthday party ever (apologies to the children of this columnist) to celebrations of her birthday throughout the years this wonderfully exposed not only her great character development but also her longtime relationship with her squirrel friend Monkey Joe (no idea why he's called that). Ryan North turns in another winning script (with Will Murray, Squirrel Girl's creator) and the cartoony, kinetic stylings of Erica Henderson, Rico Renzi and Travis Lanham (with a Steve Ditko sketch in there, too) deliver big time.


Even in the sole challenge, there were high points, plus that great jump from Image, so that's a good thing ...


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

"Occupy Avengers" #3 was very close to making it home as the chemistry and banter between characters was as engaging as the clean, gorgeous artwork. Unfortunately, we were all having such a good time making new friends that the plot didn't keep up, lacking story meat when push came to shove. Very close and the first two issues were stellar, so this will likely pick up steam next issue.

"Doctor Who The Eleventh Doctor Year Three" #1 had a lot of charm and started strong but didn't finish or tell a complete story, as if it never had any intentions of being a single installment. Enjoyable until it was frustrating.

If the changes in Victor Creed last longer than this crossover, "Uncanny X-Men" #17 might be worth noting. As it was, too many red shirts fell and too much monologuing from Sabretooth made this a little emo even amongst all the bloodshed.

"Green Valley" #4 was running a little too slowly for its own good, but answered a number of questions about the nature of the threat and did some solid character development.

"Captain America Steve Rogers" #9 succeeded largely in its flashbacks, giving the cosmic cube-powered retcon real resonance and gravity. It failed mightily in its cover-advertised "Trial of Maria Hill," which had procedural, scientific and logical flaws big enough to fly a helicarrier through (unless Everett K. Ross is just a really bad lawyer). This gets closer to finding its ground, but hasn't made it there yet.

The "Meh" Pile Not good enough to praise, not bad enough to insult, they just kind of happened ..."Titans" #7, "Ninjak" #23, "Deadpool" #24, "All-Star Batman" #6, "Foolkiller" #3, "Dungeons And Dragons Frost Giant's Fury" #1, "Guardians Of The Galaxy" #16, "Hard Case Crime The Assignment" #1, "Totally Awesome Hulk" #14, "Detective Comics" #948, "Spider-Man Deadpool" #13, "Birthright" #21, "Flash" #14, "Spider-Man" #12, "Hard Case Crime Triggerman" #4, "Jessica Jones" #4, "Doctor Who The Tenth Doctor Year Three" #1, "Khaal" #1, "Rocket Raccoon" #2, "Hal Jordan And The Green Lantern Corps" #12, "James Bond Felix Leiter" #1, "Justice League Power Rangers" #1, "Silk" #16, "Samurai Brothers In Arms" #5, "Uncanny Avengers" #19, "Wonder Woman" #14, "E.V.I.L. Heroes" #4, "All-New Wolverine" #16, "Red Hood And The Outlaws" #6, "Deep" #1, "Mighty Thor" #15, "Suicide Squad" #9, "Assassin's Creed Awakening" #3, "Superwoman" #6, "Flash Gordon Kings Cross" #3, "Motro" #3, "Violent Love" #3, "Supergirl" #5, "Marvel Universe Guardians Of The Galaxy" #16, "Mega Princess" #3, "Spawn" #269, "Groo Fray Of The Gods" #4, "Scooby Apocalypse" #9, "Savage Dragon" #219, "Namesake" #3, "Doctor Strange And The Sorcerers Supreme" #4, "New Super-Man" #7, "Amazing Spider-Man Renew Your Vows" #3, "Doctor Who The Third Doctor" #4, "Ms. Marvel" #14, "Justice League Of America Vixen Rebirth" #1, "Motor Crush" #2, "Inhumans Vs X-Men" #2, "Gotham Academy Second Semester" #5, "Red Sonja" #1, "Star Wars Poe Dameron" #10, "Earth 2 Society" #20, "Invisible Republic" #14, "Batgirl And The Birds Of Prey" #6, "Great Lakes Avengers" #4, "Doctor Who The Twelfth Doctor Year Two" #13, "Action Comics" #971, "Daredevil" #15.

No, just ... no ... These comics? Not so much ...... what? Nothing awful? That's fantastic!


Good to have nothing to complain about.


Call this week a winner with that brilliant new idea and nothing to truly be angry about.


The writer of this columnist will be a special guest at Black Comix Arts Festival in San Francisco, making a number of new announcements about comics projects for 2017.

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!

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