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:
(A) Ladies and gentlemen, this is how you end a saga. Batman and Joker have been doing the dance for 75 years now, and I don’t think I’ve ever been as wide-eyed and enthralled in one of their “love stories” as I have with Endgame. With DC preparing to implode upon itself, I was satisfied in knowing that whatever Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo gave us with this arc, DC could not take away from us. For a while, reading the issue made me forget that I was even reading a Batman book. The final showdown between the two is so brutal, so creepy… I felt like I was reading a horror novel. Both Batman and Joker show us a side of them that I’m not sure I ever wanted to see. Endgame is going to leave a scar on me emotionally when it comes to how I think of the character, but it’s more like a Victor Zsasz tally that makes me proud to be a reader. I don’t know what Snyder & Capullo have in mind next, but this issue was the peak. – Sherif
Dark Horse Comics:
The Order of the Forge #1 – B-
Well that was unexpected. The Order of the Forge is a mystical story about the founding fathers as young men. George Washington, Paul Revere and Benjamin Franklin are all in their early twenties working for Lord Hammond. Paul Revere was kind of a smart ass as it turns out. Ben Franklin like his brothels, that’s where George and Paul run to gather him so he can do his famous kite in a thunderstorm experiment. So those are the basics. What you’re not expecting is that the main characters speak in modern English and swear a lot. Lord Hammond has a room full of body parts and fantastical items. There is a fair amount of nudity, which I wasn’t expecting. Oh, and George Washington has a now magical axe that makes him go into a crazy rage, I’m sure that will come up later. – Scott
Convergence – Shazam #1 – A-
(A+) Oh wow. Convergence Shazam #1 was great. By far, absolutely by bounds and incomprehensible leaps, this is the best Convergence book so far. In a vacuum apart from Convergence this is as solid a Shazam story as the New 52 release of a couple years ago. At its root, it’s a book about the Marvel family separated from their powers and having to live in secret. They later get apprehended by their nemesis, Dr. Sivana (along with a few others), moments before the shield surrounding the city drops and it all hits the roof. Wow. I can’t recommend how undeniably enjoyable this book is. And the art! Penciler Evan Shaner rocks it with detailed expressive art that resonates with the silver age but doesn’t itself feel dated. Get this book. I have, literally, zero complaints. – Montgomery
(B) Convergence comes to Shazam in an old school, classic fashion. Billy Batson is on Earth-S, which seems to be stuck in the 50’s. It makes for great art design. I really liked the old feel to everything. With the dome up, poor Mr. Batson can’t transform into his hero state. Fun classic bad guys like Mr. Atom and the best caveman engineer I’ve ever seen, King Kull, are there to cause all sorts of trouble. The issue ends with the dome up and the Marvel crew back in action. Although they are just in time for zeppelins firing laser down on Fawcett City. It looks like next time, Billy is going to have to deal with a Gaslight Batman, that should be good. – Scott
Convergence – Plastic Man and the Freedom Fighters #1 – B+
As with the rest of Convergence, the individual character books are much, much better than the actual series Convergence. I am more interested in the story of our every day heroes than them having to fight each other. Mostly because we haven’t seen actually fight each other yet. I have honestly never read a Plastic Man book, but I know of him from cartoons on TV. I thoroughly enjoyed this comic; it gave me perspective on America if the Germans had won the war and what it would do to the people. Plastic Man’s humor was sly, and he had a lot more going against him than just the dome. In fact, he even said that the dome wasn’t nearly as important as fighting the Nazi influence in NYC. Pretty creepy to think about. – Adrian
Multiversity #2 – B
I can’t tell what to think of the very end of Multiversity. Like, literally, I have no reaction. I feel neither blown away or underwhelmed, let down or every expectation surpassed. Like Grant Morrison’s fetish for non-linear meta-stories, my reaction exists in a quantum state of reaction and non-reaction. I feel like in order to even have an opinion about this book, I would need to have re-read at least Multiveristy 1 and The Guidebook to know anything. Uh… the good guys win? It’s essentially Infinite Crisis all over again? If you’ve been keeping up this far, no way you haven’t already bought it and plowed through it. The first 5 or 6 books of Multiversity blew me away again and again and again, but then Nazi Superman happened, and that book and the one after it were very underwhelming. Very. So then to have this as a wrap up to a number one that came out almost a year ago feels confusing. I don’t even know. Oh. And as a person who used to be very proficient at solving rubik’s cubes, when Nix Uotan says he’s ten moves away from solving it, unless he plans on undoing progress, the picture of the cube they show is one move away from being solved. – Montgomery
Superman #40 – B
Just one issue in to John Romita Jr.’s solo run on the series, and his personality shines right through. Since defeating Ulysses with his newly-acquired Solar Flare, Superman has been obsessed with finding out just what it means, or what kind of effect it has on his surroundings. The whole issue is kind of a goof-off session, really, and focuses on the human side of the Justice League instead of the constant thrash and bash that comic book have become. Of course, Romita’s humor shines through and gives the book plenty of personality. The only gripe I have about it is that I don’t feel any more engaged than I did prior to reading – jokes were made, things happened – but as a whole, there wasn’t much progress made here. Hopefully Superman will pick up steam soon. – Sherif
Convergence – Justice Society of America #1 – B-
The Flash, Hawkman, Green Lantern, and Doctor Fate are all affected by the dome… but they are all old men! So now they feel old. My gripe with this book is that it was Grumpy Old Men except they used to have super powers. There were a lot of Easter Eggs scattered through the issue, which was fun for fans of the original Justice Society. I did enjoy this aspect of it. Despite the majority of the book felt like a good day at a retirement home, the end of the issue got me excited for issue 2 — Grumpy Old Men this time with powers and ready to kick some ass. – Adrian
Justice League #40 – B-
What I love so much about the Justice League book is its ability to stay grounded, making the team work together to solve problems that challenge not only their skills, but humanity. The upcoming Darkseid War promises to be the exact opposite of that; come to think of it, I’m not even sure where the Justice League comes into play (other than the conflict of interest when the whole “destroying the universe” thing comes into play). To clarify, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. In this issue, there is some background as to why the War will begin, and a reveal of the Big Bad. It’s essentially going to be Anti-Monitor vs. Darkseid, with the Justice League trying to avoid collateral damage. The appearance of Metron and the Mobius Chair also further prove that this will be some sort of variation to the New Gods storyline of the early 70’s. Can today’s consumers that feeds off instant gratification and easy to digest stories really stay engaged with the second coming of The New Gods? Good luck to you, DC. – Sherif
Convergence #4 – C
Hey hey hey! Convergence is finally telling us what it do. So, apparently, Telos is a semi-divine being given sentience by Brainiac to do his bidding. And his bidding is to take cities from a variety of these dying universes (New 52 Earth 2, Pre Crisis Metropolis, Atlanta, Georgia… just… plain old Atlanta, Georgia) to have to heroes duke it out. And then the winners get to bioform the planet. So… there’s that. No idea why that’s a reward other than it being not a punishment. No idea who this Deimos guy is, but he takes the alternate JSA folks to his city so that they’ll save it. But then he’s all like, “I know the real secret of this world!” and given that last issue in which alternate Green Lantern says the weakness of this world is in its heart, my money is that Brainiac is the secret and the weakness of the world. Ugh. Who even cares. There are so many people that it’s impossible telling why any of it matters. It feels similar to Marvel’s 1999 book Earth X (which pretty much seems to be Marvel’s playbook for the stuff they’re doing now), but that book succeeded in that it took the time to remind you who everyone is and why they matter. My favorite line from Convergence #4 comes from a Thor ripoff (the mid 90’s one with a beard and partly-face obscuring mask) with an axe who shouts, “Why would the lizard men attack now?” Ain’t no one knows, guy, ain’t no one knows. We live in a universe indifferent to our suffering, friend. – Montgomery
Convergence – Justice Society of America #1 – C
Old school, man. This is what this issue of Convergence was all about. The original JSA squad is the focal point this time around. The original Hawkman, Flash, Green Lantern and Doctor Fate are the dudes under this dome. And they are old! Capital O-L-D. The whole issue is essentially an ode to heroes felled due to the passage of time. That and how hard it is to go up and down stairs when you’re 147. The issue was not what I expected, but it wasn’t terrible either. It’s interesting seeing the diverse angles and stories in all these sister issues of the Convergence plot. Then again, there’s also that feeling of someone else’s hand in my pocket searching for my wallet… – Taylor
Convergence – Infinity Inc. #1 – C
I have no idea what’s going on. My childhood as a Marvel kid taught me to get unreasonably excited about the word “infinity.” I figured, “Well, what can let you down about Infinity? Turns out it’s Convergence. Every name I knew (well, Green Lantern, but the cool ’40s one with the cape) was a reference to someone offscreen. I could not figure out what or who anyone was or why I should care. I still have no idea what Telos or Brainiac or Eggs Benedict wants to do to or with or about anything. Anyways – I wanted to try out one of these side issues and it was kind of a disappointment. I suspect that’s my fault. If I knew who anyone in Infinity Inc. was, I might care. So, if you do, you might give it a higher grade. It’s not the worst thing I’ve ever read (it’s no Lesbian Zombies from Outer Space BS), but I’ve certainly read better. As a footnote, it’s cool that at the end they give you a short biography about the central heroes of the book, because I imagine most people will think, “I have no idea who these people are, and so I don’t care, but I am hungry and a little cranky. And why’s it so cold in here?” – Montgomery
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #45 – A-
Well, we finally have issue #45 in hand and find out the fate of Donatello and the repercussions on every side from the giant battle on Burnow Island. We see Fugitoid return to help the Turtles, Baxter making deals with Shredder, Karai leading The Foot unsure if Shredder is alive and the best part to me, Casey Jones kicking some major ass. So this issue has a lot going on story wise but it gives each story ample time to set in and ends with a surprise ending that may be surprising to some but all to familiar or at least similar to a previous storyline in the Image comics run of TMNT. The art is wonderful as well as we see the return of Mateus Santolouco and also get some great dream sequences done by Charles Paul Wilson III. So overall, there is a lot going on in this issue, but with the return of Mateus Santolouco to the series and the way the writing has been going, this series has nothing but good things ahead leading up to the giant-sized #50! – Jacob
Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye #40 – B+
I think of all the ongoing Transformers titles, More Than Meets The Eye is my favorite. It deals with a more rounded mix of known and unknown bots. Its stories are often more personal, and when it ventures into the epic, they never venture to Earth (if I see one more robot on goddamn Earth, I’m going to murder everyone), and so their events seem to be weirder than the other TF books (see: time travelling Brainstorm, and Lost Light quantum entanglement). And somehow, because the bulk of the stories are so much more personal and low key, when things do get crazy, the stakes feel greater. This issue centers around Ratchet as he tries to get the courage to tell his friends bye so he can muster the courage to find another abandoned friend. As he works, he tries to create new friendships between crewmates who will be most effected by his absence. It’s actually a pretty moving story (unlike that Windblade mess with indecipherable art). I also love the artist on the MTME books. It’s the perfect balance between detailed and cartoony. Really, the only complaint I ever really have about MTME is the dialogue. For example: “Ask Prowl. It’s–yeah. Ask Prowl.” I understand that part of the appeal of the book is that it’s funnier, and sometimes genuinely so, but I feel like it often veers too close to flippant and irrelevant with how cavalier and casual the characters can be. I mean, Rodimus (a robot who, traditionally, takes himself too seriously because he fears he’s not good enough), captain of the ship, cracks jokes in the middle of a court marshal. Sometimes it grates, but not enough to detract from how much I genuinely look forward to this book every month. And, oh yeah: where’s the resolution to the INSANE cliffhanger from last month? – Montgomery
Rumble #5 – A
If you’re not reading Rumble, stop what you’re doing and go find whatever issues you can and read them all. Rumble is filled with likeable characters, creative monsters and fantastic actions. This issue we see Bobby pick up the sword, which has a badass name, Thunderchop. Rathraq wants his body back and is willing to give up his sword, essentially a part of him, to get it back. That means something. Sadly, the very large monster lady with the scar has removed his heart and wears it as a fetish around her neck. Rumble has the best monsters of any book since Hellboy. The art is sketchy and exciting and watching Rathraq take out a room of full of nightmares with a baseball bat is wholly satisfying. READ THIS SERIES! – Scott
Bitch Planet #4 – B
Bitch Planet delivers once again. This comic continues to shape into an engaging, inspiring, and well drawn out narrative. At first glance, this issue is pretty simple. Most of it involves the main character gathering the women she needs for the Megaton game (an evolved football game of some sort) while getting deeper into the dynamics of the world she’s operating in. The team working on Bitch Planet have really worked hard at inverting the male gaze. This has meant a lot to many women nerds out there. There’s a reason women all over the country are getting NC (non-compliant) tattoos. This fandom is going to be huge. I don’t want to give the last panels of the issue away, but damn, what a brilliantly thought out piece of work. If you’re tired of the age-old female clichés in comic books I highly recommend giving this story a whirl. – Jené
Pisces #1 – C+
It’s not clear entirely what’s going on in Pisces yet. The book starts with the main character, Dillon, crashing into an ambulance outside of a hospital. He seems to be looking for his wife whom is in labor. He is very drunk. The comic keeps flashing to Dillon being in space, which it doesn’t really explain, but I’m sure that will come later. Most of the book is spent covering an event Dillon went through while serving in Vietnam. His time there wasn’t good to say the least. The art is nice though. The colors are bright and eye grabbing and the lines are very crisp. There are also some nice small details to pick up on in the panels. The issue ends very abruptly. It’s either just interesting enough or just confusing enough to have me pick up issue #2. – Scott
Princess Leia #4 – C
This one just isn’t fitting in. The other running Star Wars comics have all hit the mark (for the most part), but Leia feels like the square peg trying to mush into the round hole. The action is minimal and basic as is the dialogue. Leia’s mission is a noble and purposeful one. Finding and corralling the very few remaining Alderaanians will make a powerful statement and give the rebellion mad props, but I’m struggling finding the entertainment in it all. It’s almost like this series is confused. Instead of having Leia travel to dangerous places and getting into random (and boring) fire fights, I’d much prefer to see a cerebral and politically driven story. One with less Stormtroopers and more big words. I may be asking for a barrage of angry nerd fists to the face, but I think now is the time to start mixing it up in the galaxy far, far away. Try something new! But whatever you (Marvel) do… don’t lose the buns. – Taylor
Moon Knight #14 – C
Do I love Moon Knight? Yes. Do I want to be Moon Knight? Yes. Does Moon Knight rhyme with boom kite? Yes. What’s a boom kite? Dunno. What’s a boom kite got to do with this issue of Moon Knight? Nothing – I just made it up right now. Well, that’s kinda how I feel about this issue of Moon Knight. See – I was going somewhere with that. The plot in this issue didn’t really fit the typical profile. Instead of helping ghosts find passage to the next world or fighting evil spirits and demons, Marc Spectre beats up a guy who trains his dogs some pretty intricate tricks. Not exactly a matter of paranormal activity. But I guess if Konshu and the other Egyptian deities command it, then it shall be so! I like this series so much (even when things get random and a bit silly) that I doubt I’ll ever have it in me to give it a grade lower than a “C.” So I guess you can call this one of Moon Knights not-so-bright issues. You should still read it though. Just sayin’. – Taylor
Panel with the Most Awesomeness:
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 all the publishers for putting out great books.