WHAT IS THE BUY PILE?
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 an 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 MARCH 13, 2019
Wonder Twins #2 (DC Comics)
Jump from the Red Pile. Zan and Jayna take on the prison industrial complex in a way that's not just funny, but well within the bounds of continuity. Lex Luthor's corporation runs a private prison (because of course they do) with staffers that make the cast of Powerless look like the cast of SEAL Team. In a roundabout way, this leads to a conflict with the villain called Drunkula ("It's Baron Nightblood!"), a member of the farm team for Lex's Legion of Doom called the Legion of Annoyance (whose members either come from or head to ... wait for it ... Lex's private prison). The character work of the young "wokeness" in Jayna and the glorious obliviousness of Zan is very engaging, and the plateau-ing and fall of Drunkula ("That name is hurtful") is almost Shakespearean in its tragedy and comedy. Superb work all around is provided by the creative team of Mark Russell, Stephen Byrne and Dave Sharpe. If one more issue makes the jump, this title becomes a "buy on sight" selection. RATING: BUY.
Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #42 (Marvel Comics)
Wow. This is one of the most clever uses of the time traveling super villain Kang the Conqueror, who gets locked on to a bad idea and keeps doubling down on it in a way that's both brilliant and hilarious. To say more than the cover shows would spoil the many, many treats writer Ryan North broke out for this fiftieth consecutive issue (counting renumberings, natch) and the art team of Naomi Franquiz, Derek Charm, Erica Henderson, Rico Renzi and Travis Lanham run the gamut, making some pretty complex topics vibrant and visually engaging. To pull off an issue this tricky and intricate is a real feat. RATING: BUY.
Transformers #1 was very close to the mark in offering an intriguing look at Cybertron before the start of the war between Autobots and Decepticons. At this point, Megatron is a senator (not a miner) leading a political movement called the Ascenticons, who want change ... that is never specifically discussed, even in an intimate talk with Orion Pax, another senator and long time friend who will one day (even stated here) become Optimus Prime. On the other side is a red shirt, er, new character called Rubble who is a literal newborn discovering the wonders and terrors of Cybertron alongside more seasoned, jaded Transformers like *squints* Windblade and Bumblebee. This issue sets an outstanding table for a banquet of content but the food itself is obscured somehow, and that deficit either relies on fans to fill in the gaps based on their experience with the characters they see (senator?) or leaves new readers shrugging due to the vagueness. Worth a look for worldbuilding elements (Termagax, the march to Tarn) but this isn't quite a full meal just yet. RATING: HONORABLE MENTION.
Red Hood Outlaw #32 was kind of clever in a smug, sadistic way as Jason Todd is the new proprietor of Penguin's Iceberg Lounge and Casino, complete with a motley crew of supporting characters. The issue was all set up, however, with only its last page as a punchline. RATING: HONORABLE MENTION.
Star Trek Discovery Captain Saru #1 is a crafty but slow moving adventure in a mysterious nebula, trying to bring lost Starfleet officers home. The title character is true to form but the supporting cast is a non-factor and the antagonists completely cliched. For the price it's a little less than it should be. RATING: HONORABLE MENTION.
Outer Darkness #5 dropped a rung or so with an issue crashing the magic-fueled spaceship on a harsh ice planet. It's not bad, setting up several world building elements that are very interesting, but it didn't close the loop plot wise. RATING: HONORABLE MENTION.
In Star Wars Age Of Republic General Grievous #1, the fearsome four armed warlord battles against ... a building. Really. That's the book. RATING: MEH.
Star Wars Han Solo Imperial Cadet #5 was a good exploration of the title character, maybe even better than the movie. Unfortunately, with a significantly less interesting supporting cast and less compelling action, this story didn't connect as well by getting the reader invested in their lives. RATING: MEH.
WHAT'S THE PROGNOSIS?
Nothing truly bad happened, so that alone makes this week a win.
Oh. Also, this columnist will help bring the official, family approved story of Bob Marley to life. You're welcome.
The Buy Pile is syndicated six days after its web publication on the iHeartRadio podcast Nerd-O-Rama with Mo and Tawala.
Have you checked out season four of the free web comic Project Wildfire: The Once and Future King? Every week catch a page of the story 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!