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 APRIL 29, 2015
Transformers More Than Meets The Eye #40
This is just the weirdest little book. Once it was a straight-on science fiction adventure yarn, now it's the most unusual character study -- part comedy, part love story, part internecine political drama. Ratchet uses this opportunity to do something he has failed at for millions of years and along the way Megatron has a poetry reading, Mirage gets a business lesson, Ultra Magnus makes a friend, Brainstorm goes on trial and so many more kooky things that are coherently crafted into a narrative by James Roberts with surprisingly emotive artwork by Brendan Cahill, Joana LaFuente and Tom B. Long. Such a wonderful work.
WHAT'S THE PROGNOSIS?
Welp ... it was inexpensive, that's for sure ...
THIS WEEK'S READ PILE
Honorable Mentions: Stuff worth noting, even if it's not good enough to buy
"Silver Surfer" #11 was a ... it has a clever if repetitive narrative conceit that allowed some clever things to happen, but ultimately took too long wading through its cleverness to connect. Valiant effort, but short of the mark.
"Red One" #2 felt like much of the last "Young Avengers" run, style over substance. A flashy Soviet operative comes to the US for a mission and becomes a hero as a cover, all while having people ogle her Dodson-developed assets. J. Scott Campbell fans will likely be on board, but it's not much in the way of literary merit.
"All-New Captain America" #6 had a nearly perfect last few pages, with twists and some engaging moments. Most of the hand-wringing, needlessly saccharine voiceover dominating the rest of the issue bracketed plain Jane fisticuffs and a lack of coordination. Not bad, but FalCap is still not ready for prime time.
"Jem And The Holograms" #2 feels like it was supposed to be four pages longer, as the pace felt rushed and some of the characters Mark Madsen'ed up the place (Luke Walton'ed? Same thing) and while the art is solid, there's too much space taken up for music the reader can't hear. Rock solid ideas that are finding the right mix.
"Princess Leia" #3 was action packed and beautifully rendered, if too focused on action. The true secret hidden here, a fascinating character in the bosom of the Empire, gets precious little focus. Still, intriguing take on the titular character that never bores.
"Pisces" #1 was ... you're doing one thing in the narrative, then, out of nowhere, it makes the oddest, least interesting twist. What little investment you had in the arguable protagonist got swept away in an odd transition. Beautifully depicted but terribly executed from a writing standpoint.
"S.H.I.E.L.D." #5 was one half of a kick-ass episode of the show, with the Scarlet Witch and Melinda May making an odd couple of lethal ladies. However, despite good Coulson coordination and "Fitzplaining" this was half of an episode. That's not quite enough, but it's not bad.
"Spider-Man And The X-Men" #6 put Web Head in the best situation for him, tossing quips and not carrying the whole book. However, another tedious visit from Nathaniel Essex was a weak axis for a story to rotate around, so despite the great character moments, this missed the mark. Not bad, and for MMMS charter members, this will be a sure fire purchase.
The "Meh" Pile Not good enough to praise, not bad enough to insult, not important enough to say much more than the title
"He-Man The Eternity War" #5, "Fantastic Four" #645, "Skullkickers" #32, "Inhuman" #14, "Rocket Salvage" #5, "Max Ride First Flight" #2, "Witchblade" #182, "Moon Knight" #14, "Batman" #40, "New Avengers" #33, "Hellbreak" #2, "New Avengers Ultron Forever" #1, "Convergence World's Finest Comics" #1, "Nova" #30, "G.I. JOE" #8, "Convergence Shazam" #1, "Secret Avengers" #15, "Captain Midnight" #22, "Convergence Plastic Man And The Freedom Fighters" #1, "Princeless The Pirate Princess" #4, "Silk" #3, "Convergence Justice Society Of America" #1, "Conan Red Sonja" #4, "Superior Iron Man" #8, "Convergence Infinity Inc" #1, "Quantum And Woody Must Die" #4, "Convergence Detective Comics" #1, "Lady Death Apocalypse" #4, "Convergence Crime Syndicate" #1, "Big Trouble In Little China" #10, "Convergence Booster Gold" #1, "X-Men" #26, "King Jungle Jim" #3, "Convergence" #4, "PastAways" #2, "Convergence Blue Beetle" #1, "Battlestar Galactica Six" #4, "Justice League" #40, "Convergence Action Comics" #1, "Fuse" #12, "Invincible" #119, "Steambusters" #1, "B**** Planet" #4, "Superman" #40, "Alex + Ada" #14, "Daredevil" #15.
No, just ... no ... These comics? Not so much ...
"Multiversity" #2 is an incoherent mess. That's all that needs to be said, past a disturbing and immediately fixed panel.
Re: "Avengers" #44. Either the worst break up ever or "Civil War 2: Electric Boogaloo." Retread and retrograde writing either way with top notch art, colors, lettering and production values.
SO, HOW BAD WAS IT?
When do the DC people move in to Burbank? Can it be sooner? If Telos gives that damned speech one more time...
WINNERS AND LOSERS
Two actually bad books beats the single quirky good time we had this week, especially with slogging through what feels like the exact same comic book over and over and over to cover up for a cross-continental move ... guh. We took the "L" this time.
As of right now, you can spend ten bucks and get about 175,000 words worth of fiction from the writer of this column. The links that follow tell you where 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, or "Fathom Sourcebook" #1 and "Soulfire Sourcebook" #1, the official guide to the Aspen Comics franchises. Too rich for your blood? Download the free PDF of "Cruel Summer: The Visual Mixtape." 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!