The mythical A+: Classic comic book material. Belongs next to your copy of The Notebook and The Joy of Cooking.
A: Would definitely recommend to all comic book readers. Even more so to fans of the genre or characters
B: Enjoyable read. Fans of the genre or characters will especially like.
C: Non-essential read. Can be enjoyable for fans of the genre or characters, but likely for only one or two events in the books.
D: Unenjoyable book. Read at your own risk. Might find satisfaction if major flaws are overlooked.
F: Please don’t buy this book. Donate your money to a local comic book writer’s workshop instead to inspire future generations to write something better than this trash.
Pick of the Week:
Uncanny X-Men #16 – A
If you’ve been reading any X-title post- AvX, then you would think Magneto had turned into an impotent, outdated vigilante with a change of heart. You (and I) would be sorely mistaken. Since the Phoenix entity was defeated, leaving Magneto, Emma Frost and Cyclops allwith clipped wings in terms of power, Magneto has had a difficult time adjusting to his new sage-like role. As Erik takes some time off from the other Uncannys, he is led to a Genosha-like island where all the children are being pumped with growth hormones. Looking somewhere between Max Payne and Master Roshi, Magneto absolutely loses his mind. Has he become unhinged? Was he faking his power loss all along? All I know is that Magneto is back, and not in a good way. Well, that is, not in a good way for anybody but the reader. – S
Dark Horse Comics
Star Wars: Darth Vader and the Cry of Shadows #2 – D
I wonder if the news about Marvel taking over the comic book rights to all Star Wars comics is getting Dark Horse writers down. If so, is showed in this issue of Cry of Shadows. We pick up right where we left off in issue #1. CT-5539 who, during his hiatus in the dessert after being abandoned by his Jedi generals, has decided to name himself Hock rejoins civilization and signs up for service in the new Galactic Empire as a Stormtrooper. We are also regaled with additional background from Hock’s training and service to the Jedi, prior to Order 66. As a whole, this issue was very disjointed. I’m confused in the direction Tim Siedell (author) is moving this story. Nothing of any notable significance occurred in the 25 pages of Cry of Shadows #2. While I do appreciate the story telling perspective – through the eyes and thoughts of Hock – the tales are about as exciting as listening to my brother describe the sandwich he just made… It was ham… I had high hopes (and somewhat still do) for this series. I hope issue #3 provides some direction and I really hope we get to experience more exciting themes through Hock’s eyes as the story continues. And for any Dark Horse writers out there that might be reading this – cheer up! I’m sure Marvel has a spot lined up for you in 2015. You all know as well as I do that The Force works in mysterious ways. – T
Superman/Wonder Woman #4 – B+
Kneel before Zod!! While nothing too crazy happens in this issue, it does take the lull as an opportunity to touch on some interesting aspects of superhero relationships as well as the potential consequences for regular humans. It also starts to take a closer look at the deeper differences between Clark and Diana in regards to their upbringing and how that will affect their future together. Zod, unfortunately, didn’t play as major of a part as I was hoping/anticipating. That’s not to say that he won’t play a major part in the future, it just feels as though they may have showed their hand a little too early. Only time will tell how this pans out, but even if they don’t do anything major with Zod, the threat of Doomsday still lurks on the horizon. – R
Batgirl #27 – B
We got a tidbit of a preview of the Gothtopia arc in last week’s Detective Comics #27, where all our heroes are dressed in white as they patrol the shiny, crime-free streets of Gotham. This issue sees Batgirl, or Blue-Belle, is trying to save a group of children from a woman gone mad at the Joker Ice Cream Company – so you already know something isn’t right. It’s a great introduction into the story arc, as the Pleasantville-esque setting is as entertaining as it is eerie. The only thing really lacking from a phenomenally-written Batgirl (kudos to Gail Simone) is a consistent artist. The art in #27 is choppy at best, to the point where it detracts from my focus on the words and a far cry from the gorgeous cover art we see each month. That aside, Batgirl continues to be a silent juggernaut in the DC Universe. -S
Batman: Li’l Gotham #10 – B
What amazing artwork! I am a fan of all the “Li’l” artwork anyway, but this was beyond expectation. We open with Poison Ivy taking us through the seasons. When she reaches Autumn, her least favorite she becomes catatonic. Throughout these panels, she seems fairy-like and almost ethereal, especially because of the color-scheme. The story here is pretty great, too. Selena, Harley and Mr. J all think of creative ways to try to cheer their friend up. Is it weird that I think all kids should read this to learn about friendship? The second half of the story focuses on Damian who is suspicious of Alfred. After convincing his friends that Alfred is a murderer, they all find out he was just cleaning up around Wayne Manor. This section was notably darker than the first. While it was cutesy and nice to see Damian in comics, it would be nice if Damian did a bit of growing up in future issues. -A
Justice League 3000 #2 – B-
Welcome back to the year 3000 again in the newest issue of Justice League 3000. The genetically recreated five member team (Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, and The Green Lantern) is sent on a mission by their creators – The Wonder Twins – to take out a Garrison of the mysterious “The Five.” Things go very astray once the dysfunctional group encounter Locus – a super charged, teenage, alien girl that has can alter any and all aspects of reality. As a reading I’m developing a love-hate relationship with this series. What I love about the story is the way Keith Giffen (author) subtly develops plot and reveals how and why The Wonder Twins have decided to recreate the original Justice League. I also love the nuances in character personality and team interaction from the JL of the prior millennium. Flash is a bit too nancy, Batman is slightly more introspective (but still the coolest), Green Lantern is missing pep from his step, Wonder Woman needs a double dose of chill pills and Superman is way more of an ass-hat than usual. What I’m having difficulty appreciating is the almost annoying omission of a greater conflict. Referring to “The Five” incessantly isn’t providing any additional suspense. Before too long I need to know why it is The Five are to be feared across all galaxies and how our heroes plan on taking them down. I’m banking on major development in issue #3 to keep me engaged. – T
Black Dynamite #1 – B-
If you are a fan of Black Dynamite and his authentic Chinese Kung Fu, then chances are you will enjoy this book. I like that fact that with this issue, the fans get the sense that this arc is going to be more than just a comical story about our beloved hero. There is definitely something deeper at play right from the get go. And I also appreciate the way the story was told: we begin with a mystery, the middle portrays background relevant to the current story, and the end goes back to the present and revealing more about the mystery along with a little twist. One reason I liked this book is because it has classic Black Dynamite quotes that are both hilarious and awesome. It makes you think, “Man, I wish I was cool enough to say that.” The art was cartoony, but not in a bad way. It really reminded me of the old Fat Albert cartoons which makes sense for both the genre and time period. The only reason I didn’t give this comic a higher grade was because there wasn’t anything truly grasping me into the story. Yes, it was fun and cool, but noting made me excited, nothing made me truly invested in the actual story. A much as I love Black Dynamite, I’m not too sure I would pick this comic over others out this week, but if you do have time, it has its funny moments. – E
Amazing X-Men #3 – B+
Feels like just yesterday that Kurt Vagner.graced us with his presence, his devilish, blue tail BAMFing around in Heaven. Three issues in and his return isn’t any less shocking. One of the best characters in X-Men history is back, and sees to have brought a hell of a villain with him. Ed McGuinness and Jason Aaron are a comic book making machine, as the art and story complement each other perfectly. This issue focuses on Beast, as he is BAMFed into a fight with Azazel aboard his ghoulish pirate ship. Beast battles with grace, as well as sass, while Nightcrawler and Storm reunite once more for some more-than-friendly interactions. I was so enthralled that I was sad to have it end at all. Great job by this team; this is beginning to form into a great story, and at only three issues in, you need to jump on board. Get it? Pirate Ship? On Board? Whoo… – S
Daredevil #35 – B+
This run of Daredevil has been one of the best runs of any comic book out recently. This “everyday hero” aspect given to Matt Murdock is what makes him so easy to relate to. After putting The Sons of the Serpent, an underground white supremacy group with reach throughout the justice system, on blast last episode, they seem to have an ace in the hole against Matt: his best friend Foggy and his secret identity. Dardevil spends the issue debating the right thing to do – whether he “the right thing for the wrong reason [or] the wrong thing for the right reason.” Issue #35 is a very introspective issue and embodies the character as a whole. I can’t say enough about Mark Waid as he has re-crafted a character thought to only exist in the darkness of Frank Miller’s world. – S
Miracleman #1 – B+
The return of Miracleman is finally here! OK, I’ll be honest. I don’t know that much about him, but this issue explains a lot. Mircleman was originally called Marvelman. There were some legal issues regarding the character and he became Miracleman, who is science based. He has been written and rewritten several times over. The newest reprisal is actually a reprint of Alan Moore’s 1980’s reboot, which is the only reason Miracleman #1 gets a B+ this week. I thoroughly enjoyed reading the 1950’s story and then the updated 1892 story. The story is clearly classic and Alan Moore’s reworking of it brings it to the more serious side. The artwork from both eras is pretty incredible. I am looking forward with what a 2014 take on Miracleman will look like for the future, and I am honestly glad this issue was more of history lesson before we delve into the modern update. – A
Seekers of the Weird #1 – B
Seekers of the Weird is based off a concept from Disney Imagineer Rolly Crump. Years ago, his idea for the Museum of Weird was supposed to be its own attraction at Disneyland, but never came to fruition. Now, it is coming alive through the comic book. We are introduced to Max and Melody Keep who have normal teenage problems. They go to the family curio shop called “Keep It Weird” and things certainly do get weird. Their parents are kidnapped by demons and their never before seen Uncle Roland leads them to the Museum of the Weird to find their kidnapped parents. Max and Melody will have to explore the museum to figure out what happened to their parents and find out what weird things they have been getting into. I enjoyed this comic, but everything seemed to happen so fast, that it was hard to find something relatable about the characters. It did have a modern Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego vibe, which was one of my favorite shows growing up. I am looking forward to delving into the Museum of the Weird and what adventures we will go on with Max and Melody. -A
Marvel Knights: Hulk #2 – B-
With the second installment of Marvel Knights: Hulk, I came in still not knowing what to expect after reading the first issue; however, at the end of the issue, I was pleased, but I had to wait until the end to reach that feeling. For the beginning and middle of the book you begin to see a little bit more of a glimpse as to what is happening, yet they still have a ton of information left in the bank – hopefully for later issues. The writing can be stale at times, seeming like a dull point in an action film, so I wasn’t too excited about the progression that was happening. However, the ending saved it all for me. The design and flow of panels, the art work (by the talented Piotr Kowalski of image Comics’ Sex), and the evolution of the last few pages hit me and all of the sudden I was excited and intrigued again. I got to see the Hulk I know and love, but it is obvious that there is a little something different this time around. There are still a ton of questions I have, that I’m sure can’t be left out for future issues, but nevertheless I am excited and interested to see where they take it from it. It can either turn out to be something really unique and entertaining, or it can be a complete flop; it truly has the potential to fall any which way at this point. – E
Superior Spiderman #25 – B-
We’ve been putting up with Otto Octavius as Spiderman for an entire year now, and the pompous super-genius is really starting to wear out his welcome. He’s tossed Mary Jane to the side, used his Avengers’ status selfishly, and even managed to take his anger out on poor Aunt May. It’s been unsettling, but for the sake of story-telling, we went with it. As Spidey is consumed by the Venom symbiote, he’s letting all his feelings out. The Avengers need to be called in to subdue Spiderman, and a huge reveal is made along the way. This reveal, which is so big I have to SPOIL, is that Peter Parker is not dead and gone. He is in fact returning to comics in April. That was a saving grace in a book that has been plauged by Otto’s obnoxious attitude. We want Parker back! – S
Night of the Living Deadpool #1 – C
Sporting a clever name like Night of the Living Deadpool and plenty of puns and potty humor, this book pits Deadpool against an army of the undead. Basically, if you’ve been waiting on a Deadpool zombie book not titled Marvel Zombies, this is for you. However, you probably haven’t been waiting for said title, so let’s disect the book for what it really is. As interesting as it is to watch Deadpool chop hordes of zombies apart, I got the sense that I’ve read something like this before. As a fan of the Merc With A Mouth, I will likely keep reading the series, but to call this a great series in the making is just too far of a stretch. – S
All-New X-Men #21 – D+
It wasn’t too long ago that Jean Grey and friends burst onto the scene as literal blasts from the past. The emotional shock of Cyclops turning into a felon and the physical shock that Iceman and Beast had when learning of their physical transformation was enough to keep me completely hooked. However, now that the novelty has worn off a bit, the All-New team seems, well, stuck. Battling a group of religious zealots called the Purifiers is just as mundane as it sounds. The potential for good things to happen later will be the sole reason I keep reading, but this arc isn’t doing All-New any favors. – S
GPA by Publisher:
DC Comics: 4 B’s, averaging out to a 3.00
Marvel Comics: 1 A, 6 B’s, 1 C and 1 D, averaging out to a 2.77
Independents: 1 D and 1 B, averaging out to a 2.00
Funniest Panel of the Week:
Epic Panel of the Week:
Cover Art of the Week:
That about wraps it up for our reviews this week! Look for next week’s previews coming soon. Any comic books you didn’t see reviewed that you want reviewed? Any grades you didn’t agree on? Let us know in the comments!
All images taken from ComiXology app and the credit for them goes to the respective publishers; thanks to IDW Comics, image Comics, Dark Horse, Boom! Studios, Dynamite Entertainment, DC and Marvel for putting out great books.