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 FEBRUARY 3, 2016
Jump from the Read Pile.
Writer Tom King is evil. He is wicked in the most wonderful of ways and this deft, cruelly fantastic issue proves it beyond any shadow of a doubt. There is a wonderful narrative trick played here, a juxtaposition of the emotion two moments, all hinging on one unexpectedly important supporting character. This juxtaposition is, clearly, some of the most effective writing in comic books this month, if not this year. Subtle, nuanced, haunting... amazing. The sure, steady visual storytelling of Gabriel Hernandez Walta, Jordie Bellaire and Clayton Cowles makes what could have seemed like a laborious pace deliberate, certain and intense. There's so much good to unpack here, so much that would be a spoiler, adding to the fact that the titular character is barely even an element in the story, his absence more vital than his presence. Subversive, brilliant work.
Exodus The Life After #3
Jump from the Read Pile.
The centerpiece of this issue is a conversation between an all powerful Judaeo-Christian god and Ernest Hemingway. There's literally nothing else you need to know that should make you run out to purchase this comic. Other stuff happens -- stuff relevant to the longer running plot, sure. All of that is a side dish for the main course, and it is delicious. Engaging, fascinating work by Joshua Hale Fialkov, Gabo and Ashley Erickson.
WHAT'S THE PROGNOSIS?
Very re-readable entertainment happening here.
THIS WEEK'S READ PILE
Honorable Mentions: Stuff worth noting, even if it's not good enough to buy
"Amazing Spider-Man" #7 has Peter making some good moves and falling victim to some of the truisms of Matt Groening's work when he gets a surprise from those closest to him due to his single-mindedness, plays Mister Negative like a chump and has his feelings hurt by Cloak and Dagger. A lot going on in this issue -- maybe too much -- but it looks good and might play better with other issues sandwiching it.
"Voracious" #1 has a kooky sci-fi premise that takes a twist on two genres with good looking, open art somewhat reminiscent of Jimmie Robinson. Unfortunately, it has a cipher for a protagonist and a wink and a nod instead of details for its central premise.
"I Mage" #1 is a mix of magic and technology skewing towards an all ages direction as a stowaway and his robot bodyguard crash land on a planet of dragons and mages, falling into the company of a master magician and his enthusiastic and sarcastic apprentice. There are very solid elements as a foundation here but the story execution was too brisk, too brief to establish the characters as something the reader could be invested in.
"Red Ten" #8 had a lot of great elements as an ersatz Justice League continues to collapse on itself and the star of his own miniseries, Oxymoron, makes a shocking appearance. However, the central motivation of one of the crucial characters is hard to parse. Intriguing, but flawed.
"Obi-Wan And Anakin" #2 tells two stories, both showing great artwork. The first is an internecine conflict between people stuck on a planet torn by ecological disaster and civil war. The second, more interesting story, has Anakin and Palpatine shmucking around in the depths of Coruscant's roughest neighborhoods. That has a lot of interesting elements, but happens in perhaps a third of the issue. Obi-Wan and Anakin have some impressive shows of their own power but their story doesn't connect.
"Princeless: Raven The Pirate Princess" #5 was extremely close to the mark, a self contained issue that looked at how the all-female pirate crew established their culture and a new captain starts to find her way and escape the weaknesses of her upbringing. Fantastic looking book, just a wee bit thin on plot and had some characterization moments that felt a little contrived.
The "Meh" Pile Not good enough to praise, not bad enough to insult, not important enough to say much more than the title
"Contest Of Champions" #5, "Midnighter" #9, "Uncanny X-Men" #3, "Spawn" #260, "Green Lantern" #49, "Deadpool And The Mercs For Money" #1, "Barb Wire" #8, "Swamp Thing" #2, "Uncanny Avengers" #5, "Dejah Thoris" #1, "Scarlet Witch" #3, "Batman And Robin Eternal" #18, "Doctor Strange" #5, "Klaus" #3, "Batman Beyond" #9, "A-Force" #2, "Velvet" #13, "Nova" #4, "Mystery Girl" #3, "Guardians Of Infinity" #3, "Batman Europa" #4, "Spider-Man" #1, "Voltron From The Ashes" #5, "Howard The Duck" #4, "Tomboy" #3, "Rocket Raccoon And Groot" #2, "Unfollow" #4, "Spidey" #3, "Angel And Faith Season 10" #23, "Invincible Iron Man" #6, "Batgirl" #48, "Mirror" #1, "Green Arrow" #49, "X-O Manowar" #44, "Detective Comics" #49, "Captain Marvel" #2.
No, just ... no ... These comics? Not so much ...
"Captain America Sam Wilson" #6 could just as easily be called "Misty Knight Is Better Than You At Almost Everything," as FalCap spends most of the issue paralyzed, compromises when he had a chance to enact justice and ends up with less than he started. A gorgeously rendered book with lots of tongue in cheek looks at the economic inequity and robber baron mentality of modern society, but the story doesn't connect, the conclusion doesn't conclude and the protagonist seems amateurish. Disappointing.
"Kennel Block Blues" #1 ... wow. In a prison full of anthropomorphic animals, a newly imprisoned dog has colorful childhood show delusions to help him cope with the horror of it all. That goes ... very, distractingly odd in ways that don't very closely resemble entertainment. What are we doing here, exactly? Why did this happen? Wow.
"Action Comics" #49 has Superman, powered by Kryptonite, flying around and sensing transmissions and having all the healthy cells in his body dying and ... guh. This is a mess. Toss in a boy barbarian and baby daddy issues with Vandal Savage ... the sole saving grace is the wonderful visuals from Aaron Kuder, Ardian Syaf, Jonathan Glapion, Scott Hanna, Sandra Hope, Tomeu Morey, Wil Quintana and Steve Wands.
SO, HOW BAD WAS IT?
Three bad books? Gah. That made it kind of a chore ...
WINNERS AND LOSERS
Two jumps don't make up for three truly bad books as things could have gone significantly better. Guh.
The writer of this column just launched a new weekly web comic with artist Quinn McGowan. "Project: Wildfire: Enter ... Project: Torrent" probably has too many colons in the title, but it's going to tell a sequential story, one page a week, until it's done. Enjoy!
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 and "Executive Assistant Iris Sourcebook" #1, the official guides to those 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!