Comic Book Reviews 01-22-14

Review Scale:

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:

batman 27 epic

Batman #27 – A

If you were reading Scott Synder’s Zero Year arc, you may have forgotten that the series is 75 years old. Every panel feels brand new, yet strongly nostalgic. Batman #27 was thiiiis close to an A+. Long-time Batman fans will cringe as they watch Bruce Wayne clash with James Gordon; what has blossomed into a historic bromance has very hostile beginnings. Throw in Dr. Death and a looming Riddler threat, and you have an origin story worth telling – one that’s far darker than Frank Miller’s Year One and more colorful (not just in ink, but in personality) than the Bob Kane stories that spawned Batman. With the arc wrapping up in Batman #29, I’m basically camping out Black Friday-style at Mile High Comics until they release it. To be stuck in the past is usually an unhealthy delusion, but in the case of Batman: Zero Year, it’s a delusion I can live with. – S

Other Reviews:

Action Lab-Danger Zone Comics

Bo: Plushy Gangsta #1 – C-

I have to admit that when I first saw the cover of this comic, I was very excited to read it because it simply looked awesome. A thugged out teddy bear that everyone seems to fear. However, in the actual read some things fell short in my opinion. First of all, the dialog at times was somewhat hard to read because it was written as hardcore inner-city hood dialect. For example, “ ‘lcome, ladies. They call me The Cut, and this is my ‘umble estate, ya-‘ear? Yeah, yeah!! Ya must be tired after de ride, but I thought…it’s still a ‘ood time to, ya know, ‘et to know each other. So…” the entire book was filled with this ghetto speak which took away from the moment of whatever was happening because I had to re-read certain things just to make sure I was reading them correctly. Secondly, it did take a long time to get to the point of it all. Toward the end of the comic, we do finally get to hear the story behind “BO” and why he is a plushy bear, however we don’t actually get to see his face or hear him talk till the second-to-last panel. Nonetheless, he is still a plushy teddy bear gangsta that everyone fears which wrangles in some of the entertainment factor which is accommodated nicely by the art work with the use of bright colors and smooth textures. I do have higher hopes for this book with upcoming issues because Bo is finally introduced so we should be seeing a lot more of him. So even though this issue was slow, somewhat hard to read, and lacking humor and comedy, I would actually like to read the next issue just to see what happens. For goodness sake, it’s the hood version of TED and I think the rest could be interesting now that the introductory issue is out of the way. – E

Dark Horse Comics

Star Wars: Legacy II #11 – D+

The cover of Star Wars: Legacy #11 displays a rugged (unknown) man leaning in for a passionate kiss with our heroine, Ania Solo, and title caption reading “History Repeats!”  Know what I have to say about that?… Banta Poodoo.  Ania in tow with her alien, droid and Jedi partners have taken up interstellar freighting/smuggling as they casually (almost nonchalantly) hunt down the Sith forces that are taking over the galaxy.  Though this greater plot is mentioned zero times in the issue, there seems to be a new story unraveling.  Ania and crew end up running into a stranded vessel along their journey that happens to be occupied by a man and his crew.  It’s apparent that Ania knows this gentleman quite well.  I could tell from the immediate and unhesitant kiss she laid on him the instant he takes his helmet off.  Learning only that this scruffy looking dude (…this guy hasn’t earned the title “nerf herder”…) is named Ramid and that he is from Ania’s past does little to instill the “history repeating” factor.  It’s quite underwhelming for a die-hard fan like me and makes me wish this series would just wrap it up already.  Still – there remains just a faint glimmer of potential in this series.  Can I get a “woop-woop” for the Lightsaber Whip appearance?!  A plasma whip to the face is exactly what Legacy needs to keep me flipping pages. – T

DC/Vertigo:

Scribblenauts Unamsked: A Crisis of Imagination #1 – A-

This book is just absurdly cute. I laughed, ooh’ed and aww’ed my way through the entire issue. Inspired by the videogame (unfortunately only for Nintendo) of the same name, Unmasked follows our hero Max in his plight to help save Gotham, Earth, and the entire galaxy. The premise of the book, and the game, is that Max owns a magic notebook that can bring to life any appropriate tool or item to complete a task. TONS of fun ensue as this concept is applied to the DC Universe. The story is witty and fun, and the art is simplistic, but detailed in the best kind of way. This is fun for all ages and a solid investment.  – A

Wonder Woman #27 – B

I don’t know how Brian Azzarello does i every month, but he manages to make every single issue of Wonder Woman look like a battle between the gods. This could be because every issues is, in actuality, a battle between the gods – Wonder Woman herself now included among them. The grandiose scale of each struggle makes you feel like the world is really at stake, yet it is still somewhat personable because of it’s human characteristics . While the war for Olympus is waging, Apollo has decided to torture Zeus’ first born in order to persuade him into joining Apollo’s side – and he does a pretty crappy job at it. Issue #27 has so much to offer in story, from Wonder Woman’s angle (she be schemin’!) to Zola’s predicament. Something crazy’s about to happen, and I wouldn’t want to be caught in the middle when it happens, but as a reader, I cheer for blood like any other Greek would! – S

Justice League #27 – B-

Victor Stone AKA Cyborg has had quite the upgrade (get it?) when the New 52 began. No longer a member of the rag-tag Teen Titans,Cyborg has become arguably the most valuable member of the Justice League, with the exception of Batman, obviously. Using his connection to every single network in the world, he’s the Big Brother you actually want to have (get it?). Justice League #27 showcases the metal man with the big heart. While I definitely appreciate the sentimental relationship between Vic and his father, it comes across as corny, with no real build-up to make you care about what is happening. That being said, Cyborg gets a kick-ass upgrade to his suit, and the “Red Room” is a cave of wonders that made me drool in excitement. The issue left me really wanting more, in a negative way. It did, however, prove that Cyborg could carry his own story. I’m excited to see his character continue to develop in the New 52 and will wait patiently for his show-down with Grid. – S

Harley Quinn #2 – B-

In it’s second issue in, Harley Quinn is beginning to find its own identity. PETA fans will love this episode, as Harley tries her best to rescue a shelter full of animals in danger of being euthenized. Harley can’t do it on her own, though, as she enlists the help of Poison Ivy to do so. Here’s where things get interesting; Ivy and Harley have always had a… colorful relationship. That relationship has been kind of a fanboy fantasy that’s playfully hinted at in Bruce Timm’s Harley & Ivy mini-series, as well as Gotham Girls; I mean, there are Tumblr pages (SFW, as far as I could tell) devoted to it. I’ve always felt that it’s a lot more subtle than in this issue, with Harley getting morning-after kisses and Ivy getting really excited about the prospect of seeing Harley’s beaver. Often compared to Marvel’s Deadpool books, Harley Quinn has much more going on; the art by Chad Hardin is fantastic and there is actually a storyline going on, two aspects that Deadpool sorely lacks. I highly recommend this fun and interesting book! – A

Dynamite Entertainment:

Bad Ass #1 – B+

For an introductory issue to a newly established character, the author didn’t waste any time getting the ball rolling. There was plenty of humor and action to go around; however it seemed a little light on a cohesive introductory story. We are thrown into a random world with some unexplainable characters plus a minor side story about the character. While all that can change, it may take a few issues to flesh out some of the details. Who is this main character? What kind of background does he have? How realistic is this world he is living in? These are just a few of the questions that I hope get fleshed out in the next few issues. I will say that the artwork is solid, nothing spectacular, but definitely drawn well enough as not  to detract from anything else. This is one book I will be keeping my eye on for the future. – R

IDW Comics:

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Age of Utrom (mini-series) #1 – B-

Taking a little break from the turtles, Age of Utrom focuses on Krang and his quest for domination, as narrated by our sad robot friend, Fugitoid. For those not obsessed with TMNT, an Utrom is a brain-like creature of extremely high intelligence; in the TMNT cartoon, they are all simply referred to as the Krang. I love that they are starting to bring the inter-galactic war into the comics. The art is wonderful, accented perfectly with late 80’s heavy color sci-fi era. It’s an interesting concept, but to be honest, I don’t know how I would feel about it if the Turtles name wasn’t attached to it. The confrontation Krang had with the leader of the Fighting Lizards was pretty cool, but I can tell that this mini-series is just a set-up for the next big reveal in the main TMNT series. It would be great to get more Krang in the future issues, as his cunning and ruthlessness make him a fun villain to watch. – S

Samurai Jack #4 – C+

After some great debut issues, Samurai Jack has entered the land of mediocrity. Jack is still kickin butt and taking names, but the honeymoon phase is ending and the expectations for the book are rising. In this issue, Jack travels to a frigid land led by a monarch who imprisons Jack. Jack leads an uprising against the evil Queen and collects another Thread of Time on his journey to face Aku. The series is beginning to get a little formulaic, but it is still in no way a dull read. The same magic from the animated show is here, but the writer is taking his time to get to the showdown. This is still a solid book and I recommend it to anybody interested. – A

Image Comics:

Deadly Class #1 – A

If there’s one new book you pick up this year, make it Deadly Class. Rick Remender is simply a comic book genius, as his other ongoing title, Black Science, has stunned me with it’s captivating plot and panicky pace. Deadly Class spends most of the book setting up the story of an orphan, living on the streets. It’s quite possibly the saddest thing since [enter superhero here] died. What our protagonist doesn’t know is that he is being secretly recruited for an underground school of trained assassins. The art by Wes Craig, complemented by the astounding color work of Lee Loughridge, is some of the best in the industry. Along with Black Science, image Comics has become an absolute powerhouse in the comic book industry. You need to pick this book up –  end of discussion!

The Walking Dead #120 – C-

The war is halfway over folks!  I sure hope that means better things are to come for TWD.  I applaud Kirkman for keeping the story alive, but I just can’t help but feel it’s being forced (and has been for a while).  In this issue Rick has just returned to Alexandria when Negan arrives in “explosive” fashion.  In addition to lobbing grenades over Alexandria’s walls Negan’s undead-Trojan Horse takes a bite out of the Alexandria community.  Meanwhile, Jesus continues to be the baddest mother-SHUT YO MOUTH-amongst the ever shrinking human population.  By combination of running out of explosives and getting chased off by some unexpected reinforcements, Negan and army eventually pull back.  Convinced he’s won the war, Negan cracks a smile and continues on this merry fu**ing way.  Like last issue and the issue before… and the one before that (you see where I’m going with this)… I’m left longing for more in this corner stone comic series.  The All Out War arc of The Walking Dead still has potential.  But what will determine my continued allegiance (and funding) of this series will largely depend on its conclusion and where the series head’s next.  Crossing my fingers for major develops in the next issue! – T

Marvel:

All-New X-Men #22.NOW – A

Now we’re playing with fire! After two filler issues about the Purifiers, a wacko religious cult, All-New X-Men is making waves again. Kids will be kids, as the issue opens up with a hilariously passive-aggressive argument between Jean Gray and Scott Summers. Without much dialogue, Brian Michael Bendis and Stuart Immonen remind us that these mutant legends are still just children, still coping with this bizarre situation. As the group is startled by a group of invaders, they rush into action to defend their base. The invaders, the Ski’ar, have had great relations with the X-Men, but those who have read the Phoenix Saga know that they’re not so crazy about Jean Grey. To close the book, the X-Men are greeted by one more group of space travelers – let’s just say there’s a reason those new uniforms look just like space suits! I’m ready for the best team-up in comics to happen NOW (get it?)! – S

All-New Invaders #1 – A

While reading this comic, I found there to be several things rather enjoyable about this book. First off, I found Steve Pugh’s artwork to be amazing, particularly the epic fight scenes between Tanalth, The Pursuer, and Jim Hammond. The way they were drawn with the bright colors and smooth textures, it was just truly eye catching. The overall story was good, and where it is about to go I can see being great with how many different elements are involved in this story. What I appreciate about this book is that they give you enough background knowledge so you don’t have to be completely lost to the situation, yet they still hold a strong mystery and entertainment element to keep you invested in the story. After seeing everything that happened I am fairly excited to see where this goes and what is to happen next. The only thing I wish would have come out of this issue was a little bit more character info. I’m sure prior knowledge would help and that such knowledge could reveal itself during the next issue, other than that however, I found this comic to be rather enjoyable. Oh yeah, and did I mention that the art was amazing, particularly during the fight scenes? – E

Origins II #2 – B+

Even after the original origins story, details on Wolverine’s pre-Weapon X days are still rather scarce. Considering how long he has lived however, I’m not surprised. So far, what I have gathered from this series is there will be a few more answers to that lingering question of “what happened to Logan before Weapon X?” This issue marks the introduction of Victor Creed AKA Sabretooth, and while nothing really happens between the two, it should allow for some really interesting tussles later in the series. Creed even throws in his trademark “runt” taunt towards Wolverine. The artwork so far has been spectacular including some really gritty scenes that are colored very well. The story is still a little ambiguous as to where in the continuity we are and with what they are ultimately trying to achieve in writing a sequel to his first origin story. The first Origins revealed so much about Wolverine so I am very interested to see where they take this and what revelations will be uncovered by the end. – R

Black Widow #2 – B

Phil Noto, where have you been all my life? The art in Black Widow is so mesmerizing. While that is what lured me in, Nathan Edmondson’s writing is what goes for the kill. As is popular in comics, we begin at a certain cliffhanger and build up background story until we arrive back at the beginning. There isn’t a whole lot of great spy monolog like in the debut issue, which left me asking more questions about what was going on than answering them. Either way, I’m excited to read the next issue to see where this Iron Scorpion thing takes us, if not just to see more great Noto art. Here’s to hoping there is a clearer scope going forward. – A

Avengers #25 – C+

I think the new Avengers comic book is being told through the wrong medium. The amount of dialogue in this book has been almost excruciating. No doubt, writer Johnathan Hickman can tell a story, and the art by Salvador Larroca fits the mood quite well, but there’s nothing to ruin the pace of a comic book by having every panel be a bunch of long-winded characters (ahem, Stark…) standing around explaining why they’re so smart. That gripe aside, I’m a fan of any multiverse stories, especially those with a Thor as brutal as the one we saw today. Throw in a dead Avenger, and we have quite the mystery on our hands. – S

All-New X-Factor #2 – C

Last we left our mutant business associates they had just crashed the A.I.M. (Advanced Idea Mechanics) lab run by true evil, genius Doctor Terrance Hoffman.  Knowing only that they were tasked to rescue captured mutants, Polaris, Gambit and Quicksilver begin searching high and low.  Before long Hoffman learns of the Serval team’s intrusion.  What a perfect time to try out the awesome, new, evil power he’s been cultivating!  The catch is – live mutant specimens are needed to fire it up.  Specimens for today?  Reaper and Abyss!  Fatale is also one of Hoffman’s lab rats, but seems to have passed her usefulness to the doctor and is eventually found by Polaris.  Hoffman charges up, and starts a rumble with the Serval mutants.  How it ends… you’ll have to read!  All-New X-Factor #2 gets a mediocre score this time.  The second installment diverges from many of the aspects that made #1 alluring.  From cover to cover, this issue was mostly cliché good guys fighting bad guys.  Depth was lacking and I was much less familiar with the new mutants that appeared in the series (there’s definitely some backstory I’m missing).  Gambit’s inner-monologue was limited and dull.  All in all, a mildly entertaining read.  I do have to give mad props to Peter David for the Star Wars reference near the end of the issue… Looks like Marvel is already warming up for next year’s takeover.  I suspect next issue will pick up again and get back to the focus on Serval Industries and their mysterious CEO Harrison Snow. – T

Avengers World #2 – C-

After an amazing premiere issue, #2 is lackluster in just about every way. Smasher, who is a new incarnation of the character in the Marvel NOW! relaunch, doesn’t really have enough clout to carry her own story, although those drawn to the character will definitely enjoy the story. I can appreciate what Hickman is trying to do, but I feel that the first issue was just a ruse to get us invested in the futuristic Scientistic Supreme storyline. On the plus side, Dr. Bruce Banner makes his hilarious return as he schools everybody that will listen. – S

Hawkeye #2 – C-

Haweye has been one of the most consistently enjoyable books out there, but this issue just wasn’t up to par with any of the rest in the series thus far. I think a lot of that is the fact that Katie may still be Hawkeye, but she’s nowhere close to being Hawk Guy.Clinton Barton is a clumsy, skilled, but mostly lucky hero, who constantly gets the crap beaten out of him as he tries to do the right thing. Watching Kate parade around like Harriet the Spy with no direction is getting a bit frustrating. Pretty soon, even the cat food guy is going to stop listen. – S

George Romero’s Empire of the Dead #1 – C-

While George Romero is considered one of the pioneers of the zombie genre, I must admit that I have not been a fan of his last few films. Zombies that think and are able to operate guns? Zombies that have some deep embedded memory of who they were before they turned? If that sounds ridiculous to you then not only will you not like those films, you will not really enjoy this book either. The only thought running through my mind while reading the inner monologue of a recently turned zombie was that Warm Bodies did it way better. The art was great and unique but other than that I was able to find few redeeming qualities about this story, particularly the ludicrous “twist” at the end. All of that being said, if you have been a fan of George Romero’s work up to this point, last few films included, I think that this will be something you can enjoy. – R

 

GPA by Publisher:

DC Comics: 2 A’s and 3 B’s, averaging out to a 3.40

Marvel Comics: 2 A’s, 2 B’s, and 5 C’s, averaging out to a 2.67

Independents: 1 A, 2 B’s, 3 C’s and 1 D, averaging out to a 2.43

Funniest Panel of the Week:

The Walking Dead #120
The Walking Dead #120

Epic Panel of the Week:

All-New Invaders #1
All-New Invaders #1

Cover Art of the Week:

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Age of Utrom #1
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Age of Utrom #1

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.

Written by Sherif ElkhatibTaylor LoweEvan LoweAdrian Puryear and Robert Michael

Published by

Hush Comics

We are a Fancy-Pants Bunch of Nerds. We have all grown up in the Denver/Aurora area. We love comics, movies, television and being generally nerdy.

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