Comic Book Reviews 08-19-15

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:

loki 17 potw panel 08.19.15

Loki: Agent of Asgard #17 – A+
Well, shit. I wasn’t expecting a divine existential crisis when I flipped this book open, but hell, that’s exactly what I got. As a writer, I adored this issue. Stories being so powerful they come true and create gods? That’s the dream. While Loki said he wasn’t sure whether what he was saying was true or not, he sort of hit the nail on the head. Hell, the cellphone wouldn’t have come about— at least not in the way it did— if it weren’t for Star Trek. Loki wasn’t so far off with his theory. The art in this was simple but beautifully done. Loki stood out against everything else, a clever way of furthering the point he was trying to make him. The Gods of Gods were fainter; harder to see; not as real. Loki, the God of stories, however, was vibrant, whole, real. It’s the stories that have the power and by making Loki stand out more visually, it just ingrains that even more. Loki: Agents of Asgard has had some stumbles throughout its run, but this final issue was absolutely wonderful and has me excited for what might happen next for the character. – Charlotte

Other Reviews: 

DC/Vertigo Comics:

Bizarro #3 – A-
This Bizarro road trip comedy is turning out to be a who’s who of DC heroes and villains as Bizarro and Jimmy Olsen find their way up to Bizarro United States AKA Canada. This issue focuses on the pair in a western ghost town and teaming up with Chastity Hex relative of the legendary Jonah Hex. With a story involving ghosts, possession, the Wild West, and of course everyones favorite pet Chupacabra, Colin. This issue was the weakest so far for the series but that it not saying much as it was still a blast to read and I am absolutely loving the comedic and “good guy” take on Bizarro. Heath Corson does a great job with the story although it definitely could have used more Chupacabra! Gustavo Duarte is perfect art wise and with a slight touch of the hand he can make Bizarro adorable and the next second terrifying. Definitely pick up this issue if you are a bizarre fan or if you just enjoy a more comedic comic every once an awhile. – Jacob

Second Opinion (A): I have been dying to review Bizarro for awhile. It’s such a good book: funny, cartoony, touching, earnest. The fact that every 24 pages are its own stand alone story, and each set of 24 pages so thoroughly satisfies is a testament. In this, Jimmy and Bizarro find themselves in an Canadian old west ghost town (I didn’t know those existed either. I mean, Canada, who’da thunk?) populated by legit ghosts. They’re helping out the great granddaughter of Jonah Hex — bounty hunting and great hats run in the blood — find a bounty. And then biz gets Bizarro. -Montgomery

Justice League #43 – B
So, Batman is a god now. That’s kinda cool; let’s add that to his resume of cool stuff he’s done. This issue keeps prying at the Pandora’s Box of awful things that will undoubtedly befall our heroes. Although most of the book can be summed up with “man, once Darkseid gets here, everybody is screwed,” there are enough moving pieces to keep the story interesting and engaging. Plus, Batman is a total ass now that he has god-like powers. And now there’s some hell-bent photo-negative version of Superman? It’s confusing, but fun. – Sherif

Harley Quinn and Power Girl #3 – B-
While this issue definitely had a fair amount of filler (what even was that trip sequence?), I really enjoyed it. Something that I appreciate about this comic is that while there’s been a lot of twists and turns, none of it really feel unnecessary or tangental (except for maybe that trip sequence.) It all makes sense despite how absolutely ludicrous some of the characters and settings are. It’s all a lot of fun with the humor and sexual absurdity, but overall it doesn’t lose its grounding. I think Power Girl is a major reason it’s able to straddle that line. Whenever things start to get a little too out there, she reins it back in. The plot itself really embodies Power Girl and Harley’s dynamic and as a writer, it’s wonderful to watch. I look forward to what lies ahead for these characters as they try to knock Vartox out of his trance. – Charlotte

Wonder Woman #43 – D+
I feel like if Diana is going to be the one in charge of Donna’s redemption, she really needs to pay attention to what the hell is going on. Instead, she runs around this entire issue trying to find Donna, who is convinced that killing herself is the quickest way to redemption. There’s absolutely no focus on where I should be paying attention to, and the absence of David Finch’s art is woefully noticeable. On the plus side, at least her new outfit is badass. – Sherif

IDW Publishing: 

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #49 – A-
We are at the penultimate issue before the massive close to this story arc in issue #50! Things are definitely crazy with the Turtles under attack by Stockman’s robots, and only until Karai arrives and offers the turtles and Splinter an honorable death by facing Shredder and his cronies in a duel that will leave either Splinter or Shredder dead. Ending on another epic to be continued this month, this series has me on the edge on my seat. The writing team of Kevin Eastman, Bobby Curnow, and Tom Waltz makes for a perfect creative marriage of the minds and gives us in my opinion, the best Turtles stories we have ever seen. I am anxiously awaiting to see how this story ends, who will come out of this fight alive and how Donatello will finally become a normal turtle again. Why isn’t it next month already?!?!?! – Jacob

Second Opinion (B): The best way to prepare for an epic #50 is a battle royale between good guys and bad guys. It feels a little ill-fitting, but has potential to be extraordinary. Unfortunately, waiting for the milestone issue is our only option. – Sherif

TMNT: Amazing Adventures #1 – C-
Let’s start by saying that if you aren’t current with the Nickelodeon TV series, you will be lost. Why is there a fish with mechanical legs? Why is Karai a snake? It won’t make sense, and that’s okay. Easily enough, this issue centers around a bad guy who has managed to mind-control a mutant of every Zodiac sign. It’s so bad, even the Shredder is looking to team-up. It’s forgettable, but if you’re a die-hard TMNT fan, it might be worth a gander. – Sherif

Second Opinion (C+)This might be the most insane concoction of animal mutants I’ve ever seen. Please just don’t make me look at pigeon boy again. 

Image Comics:

Birthright #10 – A
It’s official: I do not like Mikey, I’m not rooting for him, and he is a more fearsome villain than I ever expected. Maybe I underestimated Joshua Williamson (BIG MISTAKE) and I expected Mikey to come back to the good side and start fighting along side his brother and allies to defeat Lore on both Earth and Terranos. Apparently Mikey has a way darker side than I predicted and I am both shocked and intrigued. The little voice inside of me that wanted a happy ending, but in reality the direction Williamson has gone in this second story arc has proven to be way better writing than I could have hoped for. Birthright continues to lead the pack this week as one of the best written comics on shelves. – Keriann

Wolf #2 – B
I liked this issue a lot more than the last. There’s a nice blend of the serious dark humor that I can appreciate. I found myself in stiches when one of the vampires was turned in the middle of her menstrual cycle. She is forever doomed to menstruate. Fucking hilarious. And then to watch Wolfe try to figure out the wisdom in the synchronicity of his new charger needing tampons was an odd juxtaposition in a world ravaged by dark creepy crawlies. – Jené

Second Opinion (C): Honestly, this series isn’t bad but it certainly isn’t for me. It tries so hard to be mysterious but lacks any genuine intrigue. I had a hard time finishing the first two issues and will likely pass on the series from here on out. – Keriann

Postal #6 – B
This month’s issue was definitely a slower one, but what it lacked in outright action it really made up for in characterization. The whole issue was from Laura’s perspective and we really got to learn a lot more about her. She always seems so callous and cold – especially with her own son – and while this issue didn’t add any warmth to her it successfully peeled away a few more layers on who will likely be a very fascinating person. The overall plot didn’t move forward much, which is a little frustrating considering this is now two issues in a row that have gone outside the traditional story lines. I have to give credit to Bryan Hill and Matt Hawkins’ ability to diverge from the central plot and still make the issue a very interesting read because I did not end this book feeling disappointed at all. – Keriann

Trees #12 – C
The series is continuing to build a momentum that I appreciate. I’m glad that the mayor of New York and Dr. Casey are the central characters of this volume. I just really hope they don’t go the way of the characters in the last volume. I don’t think I can handle liking characters that are just going to be eviscerated in a cloud of smoke. The killer black poppies are also back in this issue and it looks like we’ll soon have more information about the specific location of the Tress. Is Ireland the next outbreak of killer poppies? Hell, when you can make a flower menacing, in all seriousness, that’s kind of genius. Really looking forward for the next issues as always.- Jené

Marvel/Icon Comics:

X-tinction Agenda #3 – A
This is certainly one of the books with the best art. In the fourth issue, Rachel leads half the X-Men against the plague ridden other half to rescue Triage and Rogue, who are being used to heal the plague. This really does beg the question: if it was that easy to do from the start, why not do that? Ugh. Seriously, RACHEL. Anyways – in the process, the rescuers discover the racist creator of the plague. And then guys, and then you guys? There’s probably gonna be some Phalanx up in this pig. I’m unreasonably excited about that. – Montgomery

Weirdworld #3 – A
I love Weirdworld. It’s a great mix Heavy Metal and Conan. I also enjoy that it’s seems so far off the page from the rest of Battleworld it is its own little book. In this issue the Witch Queen has had enough of Arkon’s meddling and she has summoned “The Slayer”. After saving Crystar, or what’s left of him, from magma men, Arkon continues his journey to find Polemachus and he finds himself in a pub. This is where the he runs into “The Slayer” and an impending battle on a bridge takes place. Arkon escapes the blade of “The Slayer” for now and it looks like he’s ended up in the forest of the Man-Things. Someone needs to turn this comic into a D&D adventure. – Scott

Spider-Verse #4 – C
While I love the idea of a Gwen Stacey/Peter Parker reunion as much as the next guy, this issue took a sharp turn for the boring. The major conspiracy of Norman being the bad guy is one that might be surprising to the cast of characters, but definitely not to readers. Not only that, but there is a noticeable lack in character expression outside of Gwen; even Ham comes across as flat and just plain dumb throughout the issue. I want to get back to the multiversity of it all. – Sherif

Second Opinion (A)I’ve never been a huge spidey guy (go ahead – tar’s in the corner, feathers are in the cupboard), but I have always liked spidey when he gets weird — symbiote wars, clone wars, secret wars. Pretty much when he wars, I guess — and this book has all kinds of weird all over. I dig it. – Montgomery

Secret Wars: Secret Love #1 – C-
The quality of this was sort of all over the place. The first story was just plain boring and nothing significant really happened. Like, what changed? Nothing. There was no reason to even write it. The second one was interesting, though. I love Ms. Marvel, so anything with her in it is always fun to read, but this story took a really great direction. There’s a moment where you think “Oh, they’re gonna kiss. They just met. Here we go. More of this Disney bullshit,” but then they grasp hands and celebrate their win bro-style. It was a great moment. The rest of the comic was sort of lack luster. I enjoyed the complexity of a biracial married couple that also happen to be ex-superheroes in the third story, but it was pretty short and unfortunately not much happened. They could have fleshed that out more. The last one was just stupid. They could have cut the bug thing completely and it would have been a stronger comic. Squirrel Girl and Thor’s date was pretty weak, too. Like, what was the point? Nothing really happened. It was sort of cute but lacked a real plot. My real question, though, is why was this released now? This seems more like a Valentine’s Day one shot to me than anything else. Is this supposed to be a series? I hope not. – Charlotte

Second Opinion (F): I’m being purposefully generous with that n/a score because I clearly chose the wrong book here. I simply saw it on the Secret Wars list, and knew nothing about it. It’s kind of a cool reference to Marvel’s pre-Marvel days as Timely comics when they used to romance comics (and a lot of them). But I’m bummed out that none of these 5 (which feel infinite) stories are actual romance stories true to the genre, instead being sort of a jokey superhero nod to romance. Every story feels like it’s saying, “OMG guys, can you even? I mean, can you even?” The obnoxious self referential narration boxes in the last story cinches it. Plus, who’s going to believe a story in which Ant-Man ISN’T beating his wife? In short: these stories are 100% not aimed at me, and I don’t want to give them a bad grade simply because I didn’t like them. – Montgomery

Runaways #3 – B+
This series keeps getting better. Cho fixes up a doombot’s head so that he can get information about the school. The gang flees to Cho’s home of the Warzone domain to discover it’s been bombed out. Which does make me ask: is it only recently that it’s become the Warzone? Because if not, I’m not sure what he expected. Meanwhile, Bucky leads a team of super students to hunt the gang. I do miss the bright colors of the original Runaways as I feel it’d better fit the tone of the book, but regardless, the art is expressive and quirky. – Montgomery

Howard The Human #1 – B-
I have been waiting for this comic for quite some time and although it was a very well written, well thought out, and very enjoyable story, it falls a bit short to me as far as connecting it to Howard the Duck. The premise of him being the only Human in a world of animals is a great idea but as a Avid Howard fan it seemed like this character could more easily not be Howard than how easy it would to be to connect this story to him. The complete disconnection to Howard the Duck aside, the story is very good and enjoyable. Skottie Young proves he has the writing chops as much as he does art world with his little marvel characters, and Rocket Raccoon, and I would love to see him write a issue or two of Howard the Duck, although Chip Zdarsky doing phenomenal with that series so just let him be with that. More than anything though I wish the art was different for this story. Not that Jim Mahfood’s art is bad by any means, but it felt a bit out of place for this setting and story to me. – Jacob

Second Opinion (B+): I like the conceit of a regular dude tripping through space and time and landing in New Quack City. I also really liked the art. Like, it’s among my top 5 of the Secret Warts titles (which, so far, has had lackluster art overall). But it was a pretty good book: clever, weird, stylistic. My only beef is that the caper was a little hard to follow. Too many gears for 24 pages. – Montgomery

Secret Wars Journal #4 – C+
If I read these correctly, these function as short stories that are teasers for upcoming plot threads. Namely: the breach of the shield by Ultron, and the return of Phoenix? Maybe? The first story is Egyptia-Punisher (THAT’S a book I wanna read) and Age-of-Apocalypse-Iron Fist are guarding the shield when they find an Ultron centipede and decide they have to murder it. Looking for its source, they find the Mole Man who uses old Ultron units to build his underground domain. But then they rise up. The second story is Moon Knight who sneaks into the Years of Future Past domain to ask an undercover Psylocke to help break his husband out of a camp. She relents, and while she has her inspiring (if unearned in 12 pages) realization about needing something to fight for, she sees a bright star in the sky that looks suspiciously like a flamed out Phoenix. Or perhaps a Nova Corps flare. I dunno. Small anthologies are hard to pull off, and I don’t think Secret Wars is the place for that (Egyptia X-Men and Silver Surfer being the glaring and impeccable exceptions) as the world is too different to be able to just get pure story. A third is always exposition, which makes the remainder of the story feel rushed and unearned. – Montgomery

Age of Ultron vs Marvel Zombies #3 – C+
This story is proving to be quite interesting a miles above the Marvel Zombies book being published with Secret Wars. This particular story bring in Hank Pym from he Timely aka 1872 universe to help bring down Ultron but what he and his fellow heroes don’t realize is the zombies and Ultron have made peace to destroy the humans. James Robinson brings a great story to life or in better terms, he gave a dead story I.E. Marvel Zombies a new twist and seemingly brought the dead back to life just to make sure we got that he made a zombie out of Marvel Zombies. Steve Pugh does a great job with the art and what becomes of the Ultrons/Zombies at the end definitely took some creative hands to muster those few panel up. Definitely pick this story up if you a a fan of Ultron or Zombies but this story definitely is not the best offered from Secret Wars, but at least we can rest assured it cant get much worse than Marvel Zombies #1 from Secret Wars. – Jacob

Star Wars #8 – C
I’m still reeling my jaw off the ground from this whole Han Solo has a wife thing.  It’s certainly the most interesting (and unexpected) thing to happen in this series so far.  I’m a bit bummed that we didn’t receive any background on this new, electrifying character.  How does Han know her?!  Where did they meet?!  What flavor was their wedding cake?!  Hopefully we won’t have to wait long for these answers.  Luke’s newly self-given mission is certain to be a riveting one.  It’s the equivalent of jumping into the tiger exhibit at the zoo to see if you can take down the big cat just because your neanderthal ancestors hunted Sabertooths back in the day.  Definitely don’t want to miss that. – Taylor

Second Opinion (B)I’m just not overly interested Mrs. Solo. It seems like it just overly well thought out. I’m hoping that will change. Now who’s this guy that stole Luke’s saber? – Scott

House of M #1 – C
I’m not going to call this book bad, but I was by no means impressed. The original House of M was phenomenal, and after recently re-reading the original run, I was excited to read a new iteration. Only thing was, it was all about House Magnus and how hard it is to be ruler of the world. Nice thing is, there’s a bit of background into how the takeover happened, and what it’d be like to see Magneto’s vision realized. Bad thing… well, pretty much everything else.

Second Opinion (D)It’s been awhile since I’ve dipped into anything X-Men related. I wasn’t impressed. I wanted to liked it but instead I found myself bored. Maybe it’ll get better. – Jené

Captain Britain and the Mighty Defenders #2 – C-
I have to say this series intrigued me from the get go as I always wanted more Captain Britain comics, but all the twists and differences in this universe make it a little hard to swallow at times. This series has a whole slew of famous heroes be involved and yet none of them are the same person, except She-Hulk, but even she was a Thor for this domain. The differences in heroes identities can definitely get confusing  but never the less if you f orget that the story is enjoyable and very interesting, so definitely got to give it up to Al Ewing for writing well enough to not get lost among the confusion. I will definitely continue reading it as I love the art style by Alan Davis and especially love Spider-Man/Spider-Hero’s costume for this series and I can never turn down a good She-Hulk story. – Jacob

Kanan – The Last Padawan #5 – D
So the final issue in Kanan’s background arc is here.  What started out as an ensnaring and dark coming of age journey, ended in cliche Saturday morning kid’s cartoon fashion.  I was really hoping Weisman would deviate a bit from the more family oriented style and keep things edgy.  In the end, it is still a solid arch and I’m still on board for the next journey for Kanan. – Taylor


Funniest Panels:

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Panels with the Most Awesomeness:

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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.

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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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