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 JULY 8, 2015
There’s a moment — no spoilers — that feels so right that it makes you understand a lot of questionable plot elements that went beforehand. Then something hilarious and awesome happens, and that’s also quite fitting. This issue (which, according to the lettercol, is right before a hiatus, which is like “whaaaaaa?”) brings back the energy that made this series great and on one page mends all wounds between the comic and the audience. Great stuff.
Star Wars: Lando #1
Jump from the Read Pile.
Delivering a cleverly balanced crime story is hard on the ground, but cast against a galaxy of Imperial powers and scoundrels it could overcome some creative teams. Charles Soule, Alex Maleev, Paul Mounts and Joe Caramagna deftly manage the title character’s certainty, suaveness and intellect while making the less charismatic supporting characters distinctive and effective in their own right (example: Lobot as a worry wart straight man is fantastic). The art is a little rough hewn, but the visual storytelling and coloring is superb. This issue is fun and the plot is engaging, there are a number of points where you’ll nod with appreciation for the wit or the plotting. Outstanding work.
WHAT’S THE PROGNOSIS?
Rock solid start to the week.
THIS WEEK’S READ PILE
Honorable Mentions: Stuff worth noting, even if it’s not good enough to buy
“Princeless Raven The Pirate Princess” #1 had stunning action, superb artwork and an enjoyable premise. However, it had a plot that had one note — go! — and barely gave any character a chance to establish themselves, including the titular and virtually penniless pirate princess. This feels like it will connect better in a collected edition.
Have you ever heard someone sing a song you’ve heard before, but did so three or four keys out of tune? “Strange Fruit” #1 is like that, a masterfully rendered, craftily told tale that somehow misses the mark. The premise — a Superman analogue lands his ship in 1927 Mississippi, except he’s a Black adult instead of a white infant — brushes past the Milestone classic series “Icon” in conception but stays in situ with the narrative. No spoilers, but the work doesn’t pass the sniff test. The creative team may be learning this song, or perhaps they know it in a different time signature, but it’s not quite connecting.
“Civil War” #1 had an intriguing political swing, positing a world where the Stark/Rogers conflict never ended. However, it felt farthest from the real story, mired in yesterday’s troubles, tossed a woman in a fridge as a plot point and was a little too “Clint Eastwood” for its own good.
“Providence” #2 really should be an episode from a series on the BBC. With a witty, credible cast and high production values it could engage. However, at comic book length, even with Jacen Burrows’ prodigious skills, the Alan Moore script didn’t have room to properly engage the reader.
“Long Distance” #2 aptly captures the excitement of two people falling for each other — the nervous energy, the incessant texting and all, using Thom Zahler’s engaging, cartoony style. However, as much as the characters fell for each other, sometimes watching every detail of two people falling for each other can be a bit much, as the SMS back and forth was realistic but not so engaging. Not bad, per se, but not catching the world on fire.
“Catwoman” #42 is another moody noirish crime story balancing politics and pugilism with a heavy slant towards the former. Too moody for sequential art, this feels like it should be prose as even the Spoiler interlude lacked vitality. Good, but not quite reaching for greatness.
The “Meh” Pile Not good enough to praise, not bad enough to insult, not important enough to say much more than the title
“Starfire” #2, “Descender” #5, “Spider-Island” #1, “Fox” #4, “Witchblade” #183, “Secret Wars 2099” #3, “Justice League Of America” #2, “Ghost Racers” #2, “Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency” #2, “Adventures Of Aero-Girl” #3, “Star Trek Green Lantern” #1, “Age Of Apocalypse” #1, “Doctor Who The Eleventh Doctor” #14, “Batman Superman” #22, “Lantern City” #3, “Mrs. Deadpool And The Howling Commandos” #2, “Bloodshot Reborn” #4, “Amazing Spider-Man Renew Your Vows” #2, “Lady Death Apocalypse” #6, “Drones” #4, “Spider-Verse” #3, “Vampirella Army Of Darkness” #1, “Master Of Kung Fu” #3, “New Suicide Squad” #10, “Black Science” #16, “God Is Dead” #38, “Squadron Sinister” #2, “Justice League United” #11, “Pisces” #3, “Inferno” #3, “Harvester” #6, “1872” #1.
No, just … no … These comics? Not so much …
“Rebels” #4 is gorgeous but incoherent, beautifully rendered and poorly executed, ambitious but deeply, deeply flawed due to a cast too large and too thinly defined, a scale where EVERYTHING MATTERS (which means nothing matters) and dialogue is forgettable seconds after it’s read.
SO, HOW BAD WAS IT?
That wasn’t so bad?
WINNERS AND LOSERS
As Nerdi Gras prepares to leap into life, it was a good week to be a comics fan with this week’s reads.
The writer of this column relaunched his website just in time for SDCC, so you can find him at the Aspen Comics panel Friday in room 9, Insights for Independent Creators in room 32AB Friday at 7 and broadcasting everywhere via IHeartRadio on KFI 640 AM’s Mr. MoKelly Show from 6-8 PM Saturday alongside a relative unknown, some actor named William Shatner …
If you’re interested in images from Nerdi Gras, this will be another spot to see things while waiting for the much more comprehensive CBR photo parades.
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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