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 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 JULY 1, 2015
Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #7
This issue was a little heavy on exposition (those Deadpool cards were really kind of ingenious) and a little light on the things that make this series work (laughs, quotes, character development) while delivering quite a bit of information on database design. Wait, what? Fans of this series will find it amusing, but whereas previous issues were on the right side of the Bell curve, this one falls closed to the middle. Nothing wrong with that … as long as there aren’t two more issues in a row at this level of quality.
WHAT’S THE PROGNOSIS?
That … was an unexpected stumble. Let’s see how things go the rest of the way …
THIS WEEK’S READ PILE
Honorable Mentions: Stuff worth noting, even if it’s not good enough to buy
“Secret Wars” #4 starts to undo all the wondrous, status quo-shifting things that went before as Doom reveals his feet of clay when faced with two versions of himself and the yearning for the Thaddeus Howze predicted worlds of Prequelandia and Deja Too tug at the idea of actual change. Already packing its bags for a “Crisis on Not So Infinite Earths” minded Marvel universe, the gorgeous art and sweeping quotables can’t save the story from the demands of licensing. Drifting down, regrettably and predictably, to a more mundane earth from such great heights.
“Omega Men” #2 has some enjoyable, thoughtful moments but ultimately suffers under the weight of its own ambition, relying too heavily on its atmosphere and internal syntax and not devoting enough energy to connecting with the reader, through exposition or character or something. Good looking book, though.
Had the lead character in “Athena IX” #1 been given a few more pages to become more compelling, her merciless and thorough pacing through the plot might have connected more effectively.
At its best moments, “Darth Vader” #7 gives us the Sith we want. Badass, contemplative, powerful and ruthless. At its worst it drags and trades in moments of little consequence, reveling in the filth of the Galactic Outer Rim while standing beneath the dignity of the essential winner of the Clone Wars. The art is sheer wonder, Kieron Gillen is getting Vader’s tone and voice right, but the balance of giving him agency, even as the Emperor’s tool, hasn’t quite become consistent, and isn’t happening here.
“Onyx” #1 has a rock solid sci-fi premise and excellent establishing elements to set the scene for intimate, intense action. The characters are dull and flat, but they look good (great visual design on the very diverse titular lead) and have interesting situations to explore.
“Airboy” #2 … uh … well, there have been metatextual comics deconstructing the industry and corporate politics, but this one posits a very … complex depiction of fan favorite writer James Robinson, a very critical look at his relationship with DC Comics (and their editorial structure) and something in a bathroom that will raise many, many eyebrows. It nails the weird ennui of certain environments well but doesn’t seem to do so with any real impetus, all while putting the creators front and center as the subjects of the story. Far too self-indulgent for many, this might strike a chord with the malcontents of the art comix crowd.
“Midnighter” #2 was better as a character examination of a broken, self-destructive super soldier than a well-plotted narrative. Great art, realistic examination of themes, fun torture scenes, a great new super power, but little connective tissue to make it all whole.
“Chew” #50 felt very rushed, with enough good ideas to fuel three issues and a fight scene intended to be legendary jammed into fewer pages than it takes Old Man Logan to decide to fight something. An issue with such huge stakes, tying up so many dangling plot threads, feels like it was abbreviated. Still enjoyable if you’re all in, but … somehow lacking.
“Doctor Who The Twelfth Doctor” #9 had the style and panache of a very close facsimile of Vegas in the 60s, right down to a “wolf pack” trio of swinging, singing celebrities. However, its half a story at best and not worth the pounds sterling it’d take to secure. Perhaps better collected, ring a ding ding.
The “Meh” Pile Not good enough to praise, not bad enough to insult, not important enough to say much more than the title
“Justice Inc The Avenger” #2, “High Crimes” #12, “A-Force” #2, “God Is Dead” #37, “Angel And Faith Season 10” #16, “Amazing Spider-Man” #19.1, “Masks 2” #4, “Wicked + The Divine” #12, “Future Imperfect” #2, “Lobo” #8, “Cluster” #5, “Groot” #2, “Barb Wire” #1, “He-Man The Eternity War” #7, “Uncanny Season 2” #4, “Princess Leia” #5, “Kids Of The Round Table” #2, “Green Lantern” #42, “Secret Wars Journal” #3, “Will Eisner’s The Spirit” #1, “Outcast By Kirkman And Azaceta” #10, “Uber” #26, “Red Skull” #1, “Green Arrow” #42, “Neverboy” #5, “Years Of Future Past” #2, “Grimm Fairy Tales Presents Coven” #1, “Broken World” #2, “Bat-Mite” #2, “Swords Of Sorrow Dejah Thoris Irene Adler” #2, “Ultimate End” #3, “Batman Beyond” #2, “Age Of Reptiles Ancient Egyptians” #2, “Batman Arkham Knight” #6, “Looking For Group” #4, “Nailbiter” #14, “Action Comics” #42, “X-Tinction Agenda” #2, “Bunker” #12, “Detective Comics” #42, “Jupiter’s Circle” #4, “Guardians Team-Up” #7.
No, just … no … These comics? Not so much …
“Bizarro” #2 is one part hilarious and three parts infuriating, as Bizarro’s syntax keeps changing to fit the needs of the arguable “plot,” which makes reading his words an exercise in frustration. You can mostly follow along if you skip his bits, but why even read a Bizarro comic book then? Befuddling to have so many elements that should work together still fail so miserably.
“Deadly Class” #14 was super whiny, like that one friend you had in high school who was SO HUNG UP on that one annoying person but couldn’t see their flaws and you had to keep hearing about it. This issue was a lot like that, except with some people having swords. Dull, needlessly emo and unentertaining.
SO, HOW BAD WAS IT?
Two legitimately bad books that had every chance to be good … a gang of “meh” ness … guh, rough week.
WINNERS AND LOSERS
The bad easily outshone the valiant quality efforts this week for a week that makes you feel like Friendship Island going into the memory dump.
Do you like pop music? Did you know the writer of this column is also a DJ? Check out a free podcast mix of pop music, available on Spreaker and in iTunes. Can’t beat free!
The writer of this column was also the subject of a nice interview at sci-fi Pulse.
Next week’s column will have a full listing of San Diego Comic-Con panel appearances by this writer, so look out for that.
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!
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