Comic Book Reviews 10-14-15

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:

uncanny avengers 1 potw

Uncanny Avengers #1 – A
Writer: Gerry Duggan
Artist: Ryan Stegman

I chose this as a #1 because I’ve never really liked the Avengers (including their stupid movies. Bring your hate. Philistines.) or read any of their X-Men crossover stuff that seemed to permeate the 2000s 13-15 like pollen in this comic, and I wanted to see if I could be hooked. And I might be. It starts off with a very Swamp Thing (the good stuff, like, late 80s/early 90s Moore stuff) cold open about a guy who gets terrigan misted and resolves to become, essentially, a bio terrorist. Plot unfolds from there. I really liked the art: very cartoony and vibrant, but at the same time kind of rough and ugly. I like that some of the members were a little obscure, and that Captain America isn’t there as the big CaptAm. The only thing I didn’t care for was the Deadpool love. I feel like Deadpool is a character that’s achieved a level of adoration undeserved by the hacky writing that makes up his character. But, whatever. Who am I to argue with a billion dollars? I’m just some garbage human coated in slime that crawls to work on his belly and sleeps in a toilet. – Montgomery

Other Reviews: 

DC/Vertigo Comics:

Batman #45 – A-
Writer: Scott Snyder
Artist: Greg Capullo
Colors: FCO Plascencia

This is probably the first time since Jim Gordon took over as Batman that I’ve enjoyed everybody’s part in the book. As a reader, I really got the feeling that Jim was tying. That he’s being the Batman out of his sense of duty, not pride. He misses the real Batman just as much as we do. He almost dies, gets canned, and then almost dies again. More praise to Scott Snyder for creating amazing characters; Mr. Bloom is so frightening! My enjoyment of this book is almost completely contingent on Greg Capullo showing up, and that may be a problem if he decides to ultimately leave after this arc. – Sherif


Batman and Robin Eternal #2 – B+
Writers: James Tynion IV, Scott Snyder, Tim Seeley
Artist: Paul Pelletier

As DC plays switcheroo with their creative team on weekly books, it can be disjointed and lack cohesion. However, this week’s installment is even stronger than the first. The whole gang of Robins are together, and now that the ruckus is over, we can finally get some answers as to what the heck is going on. Paul Pelletier’s art is the big selling factor, and it will be a breath of fresh air to see Dick Grayson back on Team Bat… kinda. I could do without the flashbacks, but maybe they’ll unveil something vital. – Sherif

Image Comics:

Sex Criminals #13 – B
Writer: Matt Fraction
Artist: Chip Zdarsky

Before I get into this issue, let’s talk about how much these two creators love each other. Chip was nominated for a Harvey Award for Sex Criminals, and refused to accept the award when those douche rockets wouldn’t let him share it with Matt. That’s love. There’s even a segment at a coffee shop where Chip draws in a little something for Matt to find later. The chemistry is definitely there, but this issue was weird in a whole new way; the usual way is to make you as uncomfortable sexually as possible. We meet our first asexual character, and it really opened my eyes as a reader to what it would be like to an asexual being. Of course, she also seems to be the big bad, so maybe it’s not all that great. – Sherif

Second Opinion (A-): Well, this issue sure felt a less uncomfortable than the last one, and we got away from Jon and Suzie for a bit. This may anger some readers, but I am always happy to invite new characters into the fray especially one with such a different way of making time freeze. – Jacob


The Walking Dead #147 – B-
Writer: Robert Kirkman
Artist: Charlie Adlard

You know that friend you like hanging out with a lot, but never get too attached because they’re always too busy to hang out? Yeah, that’s TWD. Robert Kirkman used to always want to hang out, and now it’s like he just hands Adlard a script on a napkin and tells him to make something awesome out of it. The issues are over too soon and fly by much too quickly – to the point that I’m much more shocked that the issue is over than at what is happening. This is sad, mostly because I actually kinda like where the story is headed, and I know it’s only a matter of time before something series-changing will happen. – Sherif


Roche Limit: Clandestiny #5 – B-
Writer: Michael Moreci
Artist: Kyle Charles
 

We’re, in a sense, at the ending of another beginning. Now, at least, the teams know what the collective is after Roche Limit. HUMAN Souls. I feel there should be a little “dunt, dunt duh” to go here. Though, we as readers already knew that. We also know that the collective was somehow created by humans. And as we watch Shasha get sucked into the Roche Limit, we’re left wondering what is next to come in the next volume. I have a feeling this story is going to span several decades and maybe even centuries. – Jené


I Hate Fairyland #1 – D-
Writer/Artist: Skottie Young
Colorist: Jean-Francois Beaulieu

Remember when you were in high school and kids would trip on shrooms and then watch Alice in Wonderland? Well this book is if Alice was tripping on the shrooms. No really, the “Alice” character actually trips shrooms in this book. It is trite while trying it’s damnedest to prove otherwise with the use of neon colors. But it didn’t fool me. – Adrian

Second Opinion (D): What a major letdown. This book tried to be cute in a disturbing way, and failed on both accounts. It was corny and largely unimaginative. Imagine a sadistic version of Elmira from Tiny Toons. – Sherif

Marvel/Icon Comics:

Guardians of the Galaxy #1 – A-
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Valerio Schiti

Nothing could make me like the guardians more than Adding The Thing to their ranks, well maybe Howard the Duck but they have done him a lot of good anyway because of the film. This new series seems to start off right after it ended before Secret Wars while also connecting to the Guardians of Nowhere series that happened during Secret Wars. There really is no explanation of why The Thing is there but for me the fact he is even there is enough for me! Brian Michel Bendis does a great job connecting so many old and new concepts into this book and really making the team work without Peter Quill, and Gamora from the start, although they both still appear and will likely have a large role in things to come, although Rocket as the new team Leader may not like it. Valerio Schiti does an amazing job art wise and really making the Brood Queen insanely frightening while giving a very peaceful feeling to the Guardians  making for a great mix of near horror, sci-fi and traditional comic art to make up a perfect feel art wise for a Guardians book. – Jacob


Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens – Shattered Empire #3 – B+
Writer: Greg Rucka
Artists: Marco Checchetto & Angel Unzueta

We are at the penultimate issue of this series and man is a good one so far. We are still following the couple of Shara Bey and Kes Dameron as Shara assist Princess Leia on her mission and Kes assists Han Solo on his. We see Shara on Naboo with Lei as they try and rech allies on the planet of Naboo leading to them having to fly out inNaboo Starfighters to combat the Empire who is trying to destroy Naboo by controlling the weather. All the while Kes, Han, Chewie and their group lead a commando group in combat Operations to try and tak out the last of the Empire after their defeat in what we saw in Episode VI: Return of the Jedi. Like I said last week, this series has been the most entertaining to me of the Star Wars series as  Geg Rucka does an amazing job of connecting all three trilogies of films together for one epic story leading to Episode VII coming this December. The art team of Marco Checchetto and Angel Unzueta is perfect as well and Checcetto’s cover image is one I want as a poster for its shear beauty. – Jacob


Captain America: White #3 – B
Writer: Jeph Loeb
Artist: Tim Sale

I won’t lie; this book has lost quite a bit of momentum since Marvel decided to start their relaunch in the middle of everything. It’s not the book’s fault, but all these #1’s are distracting. Call me old-fashioned, but a move like that makes me think that Marvel doesn’t care about the book. And with Loeb’s announcement that this will be his last Marvel book EVER reinforces that. Aside from that nonsense, it was the same beautiful book, and a story that builds up to a showdown with the Red Skull.


Chewbacca #1 – B
Writer: Gerry Duggan
Artist:Phil Noto

Another short run of a Star Wars series, this time focused on our favorite Sidekick (Don’t tell the wookie I said he is a sidekick) to Han Solo, Chewbacca! It is always interesting to have a comic focus on a character with no speech or at least no understandable speech, but Marvel knows how to pull it off since Groot has become so popular. The story seems a lot more focused on a young girl named Zarro and her trying to escape from the evil character Jaum. We first see Chewie lying in some flowers after crashing his ship but then we follow him to find the right part for his ship and he of course runs into Zarro and the adventure begins. Ultimately I felt this had a rough start but definitely has a lot of potential, especially with Gerry Duggan as the writer as he has does really well with other Star Wars titles from the Marvel Star Wars series. Phil Noto’s art is what made me fall in love with this issue though as it is gorgeous in every frame especially the lighting while Chewie is in the bar. – Jacob 


Deadpool vs Thanos #3 – B
Writer:Tim Seeley
Artist: Elmo Bondoc

The next adventure of Deadpool and Thanos is here and uch like a lot of VS Deadpool titles he is actually teamed up with them and not fighting them most of the series. This issue is just as funny and has lots of action along the way as the past two, especially since the majority of the issue happens to take place in hell. The one thing in this issue I di not understand at all was where the Black Talon came from and why he was there to help Deadpool and Thanos all of a sudden once they reached hell to talk to Mephisto. He seemed out of place, albeit hilarious, and was basically just a harbinger of Blackheart, Mephisto’s son and very evil looking shadow creature (Not to be confused with the Shadow King). Over all this story is fun and definitely will make you laugh a bunch, but seems to be lacking something along the way and it may be that every place they go seems futile in the grand scheme of trying to find their mistress Death. – Jacob


Spider-Man 2099 #1 – C-
Writer: Peter David
Artist: Will Sliney

I hate these “#1s” that companies like DC and Marvel do. This isn’t a real number 1 – I have something like 15 questions about who Spidey 2099 is, if this takes place in 2015, and if so, why Parker owns a corporation. But begrudgingly accepting that the way it messes with characters as part of its… idiom… or whatever… is how you have to roll with these things. And I chose Spidey 2099 specifically because Spidey is a character I’ve never really been interested in, and 2099 is a Spidey comic I’ve never read and I wanted to see if this #1 could truly be treated as a #1, and I definitely do not. Oh, and they totally refrigerator’d his girlfriend at the end. I was mostly on board until they got the girlfriend pregnant just so you could be distraught when she gets hit by a car. Ugh. Go back to 1994, Marvel. -Montgomery


Civil War #5- D+
Writer: Charles Soule
Artist: Leinil Francis Yu
Colorist: Gerry Alanguilan

I really hope this issue isn’t the end. I don’t say this because it was awesome. I say it because, if it was the end, it was an awful ending. I’m sorry, but I really don’t understand or see how Stark and Rogers can all the sudden be all buddy-buddy. Big reveal or no. It wrapped up too neatly. The dialogue was trite and heavy-handed. Just doesn’t have the same flavor of the previous Civil War. Who knows; maybe they will continue this story into the newly-announced Civil War 2, with more story left to be told about the lack of mutant powers. – Jené


Spider-Gwen #1 – D+
Writer: Jason Latour
Artist: Robbi Rodriguez

Three origin stories in a year is a bit much. While I know this isn’t the fault of the comic or it’s writers, it does make me question things more harshly. While this issue was more serious when examining the “death” of Peter Parker and Gwen’s involvement rather than The Mary-Janes (which was a horrible story-line), I have felt absolutely no connection to Spider-Gwen. I know that it might just be me, but Silk is way more relatable. – Adrian

Second Opinion (C): Rebooting a brand new book is always a pain in the ass. There’s nowhere near the amount of magic and you’re essentially trying to fill the gap between not enough background and too much background. Latour tows the line fairly well. – Sherif


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.

This Week’s Comics – October 14th, 2015

This Week’s Comics is the pull list of Comic Books recommended by Hush Comics, with notes and suggestions by co-owner, Sherif Elkhatib.

Recommendations:

I Hate Fairyland #1: You’ve all seen Skottie Young’s cute Little Marvel art, right? And read his adorable Oz adaptions? Well, this is going to be closer to Oz the prison show than The Wizard of Oz. Young is the latest to cross over into the creator-owned Image, and will murder cute things in this new book.

More All-New All-Different #1s: More Marvel, right in your face! This week, I’ll be checking out Spider-Gwen and Guardians of the Galaxy. There’s a new Star-Lord in town.

Chewbacca #1: DC continues to lose. Sorry Lois and Clark #1, you can’t mess with the Wookie. I’m curious if Marvel will take the Groot route and choose to let Han tell Chewie’s story vicariously, or if it’ll be a mostly silent story.


Graphic Novels:

Adventure Time: The Mathematical Edition Volume 6 (BOOM!)
Day Men Volume 1 (BOOM!)
Peanuts: A Tribute to Charles M. Schulz (BOOM!)
Angel and Faith Season 10: Volume 3 United (Dark Horse)
Rat God (Dark Horse)
Two Brothers (Dark Horse)
Batman Year 100 Deluxe Edition (DC)
Convergence Crisis Volumes 1 & 2 (DC)
Graphic Ink: The DC Comics Art of Darwyn Cooke (DC)
Green Lantern: A Celebration of 75 Years (DC)
Mortal Kombat X Volume 2: Blood Gods (DC)
Satellite Sam: Deluxe Omnibus (Image)
Secret Identities Volume 1 (Image)
Wayward Deluxe Edition Volume 1 (Image)
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (Marvel)
Damage Control: The Complete Collection (Marvel)
Magneto Volume 4: Last Days (Marvel)
Rocket Raccoon Volume 1: A Chasing Tale (Marvel)

Comic Books:

BOOM! Studios
Adventure Time #45
Americatown #3
Day Men #8
Lantern City #6
Lumberjanes: Beyond Bay Leaf #1
Sleepy Hallow: Providence #3
Strange Fruit #2
Tyson Hesse’s Diesel #2
Welcome Back #2

Dark Horse Comics
Abe Sapien #27
EVE Valkyrie #1
Goon in Theater Bizarre #1 (one-shot)
Harrow County #6
King Tiger #3
Mirror’s Edge Exordium #2
Rebels #7

DC Comics
Batman #45
Batman and Robin Eternal #2
Batman/Superman #25
Bat-Mite
#5
Catwoman #45
Constantine: The Hellblazer #5
DC Bombshells #3
Earth 2 Society #5
Fables: The Wolf Among Us #10
Harley Quinn #21
Justice League of America #4
Red Hood/Arsenal #5
Starfire #5
Superman: Lois and Clark #1
Twilight Children #1

Dynamite Entertainment:
Alice Cooper vs. Chaos #2
Red Sonja/Conan #3
Swords of Sorrow #6 (final issue)
Vampirella/Army of Darkness #4 (final issue)

IDW:
G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero – Cobra World Order #1
Insufferable #6
Jem and the Holograms #8
Maxx Maxximized #24
Mickey Mouse #5
Star Trek/Green Lantern #4
Uncle Scrooge #7

Image Comics:
Astronauts in Trouble #5
East of West #21
Faster Than Light #2
Fuse #15
I Hate Fairyland #1
Low #10
Phonogram: The Immaterial Girl #3
Roche Limit: Clandestiny #5
Savior #7
Sex Criminals #13
Switch #1
The Walking Dead #147
Wicked + The Divine #15

Marvel:
A-Force #5
Captain America: Sam Wilson #1
Captain America: White #3
Chewbacca #1
Civil War #5
Deadpool vs. Thanos #3
Figment 2 #2
Guardians of the Galaxy #1
Journey To Star Wars: The Force Awakens – Shattered Empire #3
Marvel Zombies #4
Ms. Marvel #19
New Avengers #1
Spider-Gwen #1
Spider-Man 2099 #1
Uncanny Avengers #1
What if Infinity X-Men #1

Titan Comics:
Assassin’s Creed #1

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #50 Review

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #50 – A+
Writers: Bobby Curnow, Tom Waltz, Kevin Eastman
Artists: Mateus Santolouco, Cory Smith

tmnt 50 donnie

This issue is jam-packed with action, flashbacks, great quips and is executed absolutely perfectly by the creative team. As a long-time TMNT fan, this issue was everything I have loved about TMNT, as well as everything I have wanted to see from a TMNT comic.

TMNT #50 1

With this being a double-sized issue, it makes it quite simple to see all the steps among this series that led the turtles here and how every story has brought them to this point – even the most forgotten issues among the series. But this issue has just about every element that makes TMNT so great in it with major game-changing elements that will leave some readers dragging their jaw around the ground for days.

TMNT #50 2

To get into the story a bit, which is done with near perfection by Kevin Eastman, Bobby Curnow and Tom Waltz, we see the Turtles in an epic battle with Shredder and all his forces. With the turtles up against Shredder’s minions – Bebop, Rocksteady, Koya and Bludgeon – Splinter is in a deep state of meditation to prepare for his battle with Shredder. While we see Splinter in meditation, we get some informative flashbacks thanks to artist Cory Smith doing a great job with the dreamy colors for the flashbacks. It does a wonderful job of matching Mateus Santolouco’s art; the books flowed extremely well with no extreme art changes between the two separate stories.

The whole issue is basically one giant battle ending with a surprise reappearance from Donnie, a rather brutal death and huge surprise that the Turtles may now be a band of three… It all leaves to reader on the edge of their seat insanely excited, deeply saddened, extremely satisfied, and with such a large amount of surprise you MUST talk to others about it even if that means talking into a sewer hoping a turtle is there to hear you… no matter how insane you may look… not admitting I did this… 

TMNT #50 3

To sum it up, this issue packs a wallop of a story with an insane amount of game-changing elements for the reader, leaving us wanting needing to read it again just to make sure the shock of some elements didn’t make you miss something. I can’t say I have enjoyed TMNT this much before, and can honestly say I feel this is TMNT in its prime!

See all of this week’s reviews here.

Comic Book Reviews 10-07-15

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:

TMNT #50 3

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #50 – A+
Writers: Bobby Curnow, Tom Waltz, Kevin Eastman
Artists: Mateus Santolouco, Cory Smith

As a long-time TMNT fan, this issue was everything I have loved about TMNT, as well as everything I have wanted to see from a TMNT comic… [Read the whole review here] – Jacob

Second Opinion (A+): Let’s forget that this book carries the TMNT franchise tag. Can you tell me any book that has gone 50 issues with a solid conclusion to it? It was an epic homage to the original run, and the premise of the next chapter is as insane as it is brilliant (Gundam Krang!). – Sherif

Other Reviews: 

Archie Comics:

Jughead #1 – B
Writer: Chip Zdarsky
Artist: Erica Henderson

With the success of Archie‘s reboot, it made sense that it would be immediately followed up with a spin-off starring its most apathetic character, Juggie! Jughead cares about nothing – well, that’s not true. Jughead cares about only one thing… FOOD. And when the new corporate face of Riverdale starts messing with his glorious school lunches, it’s time for action! It’s a very cute book. I mean, how could a book written by the guy who does Howard the Duck and drawn by the girl who draws Unbeatable Squirrel Girl not be the cutest thing ever? – Sherif

Second Opinion (B+)I do have to admit I have not been much of an Archie Comics reader in my life other than the TMNT series they published years ago, but getting the creators they have now has got me addicted *Cough* Chip Zdarksy *Cough*. Jughead is the perfect character to get me started delving more into good old Riverdale, and man does this issue make me want a hamburger! – Jacob

DC/Vertigo Comics:

Batman and Robin Eternal #1 – B
Writers: James Tynion IV, Scott Snyder
Artist: Tony Daniel

Any time DC puts out a new weekly book, you have to be wary. Batman Eternal started off with a huge bang, just as this one did, but after 52 grueling weeks, I was begging for the book to be over. In this new series, Dick Grayson is uncovering some really weird information about “Mother,” who heads an organization who, predictably, runs “really really deep.” We’re introduced to Cassandra Cain (she speaks!), and Bluebird lays the smack down on RoboBatman. It’s full of clever dialog, lots of characters, and never feels as corny as it could have if DC took the usual approach. There is a giant reveal at the end of the issue which was more eye-rolling than eye-catching, but I’ll roll with it. – Sherif

Survivor’s Club #1 – D+
Writers: Lauren Beukes and Dale Halvorsen
Artist: Ryan Kelly

I am not the biggest horror fan, but I can appreciate it. For some reason, this was not one of those times. I was intrigued with the idea of some horrible event happening in 1987, mostly because that was the year I was born (OH MY GOD, WHAT IF MY BIRTH IS THE HORRIBLE EVENT?!), but then we didn’t even find out for the majority of the club what the event was. I wasn’t drawn to any character and the story felt like a cheap version of Mr. Robot. – Adrian


Batman Beyond #5 – C+
Writer: Dan Jurgens
Aritst: Bernard Chang

This issue was the best of the first five of “Brave New Worlds.” Drake finally proved he was Batman. The most important part of the book is how iconic the robot Batsuit is. Everyone freaks out when they see “the old-school Batman” in action. There is mention of how Bruce spruced it up one he acquired it. As far as story goes, it was a little lackluster, but I am looking forward to a new storyline. – Adrian

IDW Publishing: 

X-Files Season 11 #3 – B
Writer: Joe Harris
Artist: Matthew Dow Smith

The second part to the Home story, revolving around the Peacock family we once saw in the series, we see a little bit of what it really going on while it also raises more questions. We also get to see a little of what is going on with Gibson Praise through both Mulder and Scully and right when Mulder is about to find something out, in classic X-Files fashion the story ends and leaves you hanging until next month… This comic series is very well done and Joe Harris seems to know more about X-Files past then even Mulder and Scully would and brings so much nostalgia and yet has such a fresh tone to it that this series has been tough to put down, tough not to push on people who love the series and tough to not force those who have not seen the series to try out. Matthew Dow Smith’s art works well with X-Files with his great use of lighting and shadows, but also has a edge to it that bothers me a bit; maybe that is what he is going for since it is X-Files, but ultimately it all comes together very well. – Jacob 

Image Comics:

Starve #5 – A
Writer: Brian Wood
Artist: Danijel Zezlj
Colorist: Dave Stewart

Starve is just one of the best written series I’ve read in a long time. Brian Wood always has a way with a story line that puts him in a class of his own. Major changes happened in this issue. The family turmoil between Gavin, his ex-wife, and his daughter came to a major head what with the stabbing and all. Now Roman will be joining the competition instead of being a sadistic host. He’rs just hoping that we aren’t going to a have to wait until February for another issue. That’s just too long. – Scott


Paper Girls #1 – B+
Writer: Rick Remender
Artist: Cliff Chiang
Colors: Matt Wilson

Rick Remender has another gem on his hands. What we have on hand are a group of the most jaded newspaper delivery people ever. I was amazed at how Remender was able to make these girls sound so strong and badass, yet still capture the fact that they were tweens. Of course, because this is a Remender book, there is a higher conspiracy at hand, and it has everything to do with aliens and a certain conglomeration. It’s goofy, yet awesome. The main characters are all likable. And the art is amazing! It’s the first big Cliff Chiang project I’ve read since Wonder Woman, and it fits perfectly thanks to Matt Wilson’s excellent color work. It screams girl power, but in a way that guys can enjoy reading it, too. – Sherif

Second Opinion (A-): In ways, I don’t know exactly what is going on, but I can tell you this: I am very nostalgic for the 80’s and this book captured that nostalgia perfectly. Plus, one of the girls is named Tiffany – there is nothing more 80’s than girls named Tiffany. – Adrian


Nailbiter #16 – B+
Writer: Joshua Williamson
Aritst: Mike Henderson

You know who is pretty cool? Nailbiter. He let some young kids give themselves a scare on Halloween and then was also pretty nice to them. He is a serial killer with principles, after all. I thought this issue was a very cute Halloween special. There weren’t as many questions to come up this time. Carroll is awake and gone, Finch is going to the slammer, and we know for sure that Alice is the love child of Warren and Crane. The last panel was creepy as fuck, but that is to be expected from this series. I am back on board with Nailbiter. – Adrian


We Stand on Guard #4 – B+
Writer: Brian K Vaughan
Artist: Steve Skroce
Colors: Matt Hollingsworth

This issue proves that the Canadians have all the cajones they need to go toe to toe with G.I. Joe. It seemed like the Canucks were all but screwed in their present situation, but once that massive tanker got rolling, it felt like a legitimate battle was about to begin. This book has all the drama of Les Miserables, but the depth of scope of to match it. We’re getting tidbits of a bigger picture, and are slowly hating America more and more as the series goes on. – Sherif


Axcend #1 – B+
Writer: Shane Davis
Artist: Shane Davis, Michelle Delecki
Colorist: Mory Hollowell

This is a book for the video game nerd in all of us. Axcend is a little bit of Tron mixed with Spider-Man. Eric Morn is a high school student that’s not the biggest or toughest guy in the building, but he’s not the school nerd either. He also lost his twin brother a year ago so there is this underlying story of grieving through the first issue, which I’m sure is to continue. After an inauspicious day of school on the one year anniversary of his brother’s death Eric is very unexpectedly sucked into a video game called Axcend, where he finds it’s a lot easier to play a game than to be in one. Luckily dying in the game is not permanent, at least not yet. We’ll see when the game leaves gets out of beta. Eric really sets a whole new set of rules in motion in the end though. – Scott


Codename Baboushka: Conclave of Death #1 – C
Writer: Antony Johnston
Artist: Shari Chankhamma

The absolute best part of Codename Baboushka is the art. The use of mixed mediums was very impressive. It created a look that resembled some anime – from the use of oils to the bright and bold colors with crisp lines, it was clear there was a purpose for each panel, and that Chankhamma enjoyed working on this book thoroughly. The story line was a little drab, however. It was a little Black Widow and a little La Femme Nikita without any of the draw that either woman has. I have yet to be convinced of why Baboushka is so badass. At this point, she seems like a machine rather than real woman who just also so happens to be able to shoot guns and kick ass. I’m ready for some background. – Adrian

Second Opinion (C): There was a hard sell about this being very Bond-esque, and the expectation of such let me down. The art was great, though! And there’s always room in my reading queue for a spy book, but it doesn’t need to ride on the coattails of Bond to be enjoyable. – Sherif


Saints #1 – D
Writer: Sean Lewis
Artist: Benjamin Mackey

Hmmm. I’m not really sure what to say about this issue. I feel like I was supposed to like the book more than I did. Instead, I was left feeling rather underwhelmed. It was compared to Dogma “on steroids”, but it wasn’t that funny to me. There was some haha’s at the beginning of it. Other than that, it read more serious than what I think Lewis was aiming for? Or, maybe my humor bone is broken. I left feeling like that kid at a party who just isn’t laughing with everyone else and wondering why. It did have an element of the Dexter humor with the seriousness of a Dan Brown novel. I’ll read a few more to see if I can pick up what’s being doled out. – Jené

Second Opinion (F): This is the dumbest shit I’ve ever read. It gives me the exact opposite feeling I get when reading NailbiterSaints lost me at rockstars pissing in cups – SPOILER, that was two pages in. – Sherif

Marvel/Icon Comics:

Miracleman by Gaiman and Buckingham #3 – A+
Writer: Neil Gaiman
Artist: Mark Buckingham

Miracleman is such an oddity of an experience, especially when compared to the rest of the Marvel stable. It’s such a contemplative and melancholy experience, but so worth experiencing. In this issue, Mors, the Qys alien that lives in the basement of the tower resurrecting dead artists and thinkers, resurrects Emil Gargunza, the person responsible for converting the Qys technology and creating the Miracle family. Emil wanders with one of the Any Warhols talking about life and the changes in the world. Then, six months in, Mors has to collect Emil before he escapes and deactivate him. He desperately wants Gargunza to live, but he’s so risky to have around. The story that has you brain thinking in subtler and subtler warped ways is complimented by artwork that shifts from collage, to chalk, to pen and ink. Such a good story with so many subtle cues I can’t hope to convey. – Montgomery


Star Wars Shattered Empire #2 – A
Writers: Greg Rucka, Marco Checchetto, Angel Unzueta,
Artist: Emilio Laiso

I have to say as of right now, this is my personal favorite Star Wars book! This issue focuses on a villainious man in red who can seemingly project the Emperor’s face onto his helmet, but it more so focuses on a pilot from the rebel alliance, Shara Bey. So far in the story we know she is married to a Kes Dameron and had a son, Poe Dameron, who is one of the characters we know o be in Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens. Shara is sent on a mission to accompany Princess Leia to Naboo while the federation may not be far behind! I feel Greg Rucka nailed this issue and it felt like a grea Star Wars story and really combining the original trilogy, the prequel trilogy and the new films. The three artists for this issue, Marco Checchetto, Angel Unzueta and Emilio Laiso were all great and all of their art flowed well together and really got amazing at times with some panels blowing your mind with the detail. – Jacob


Doctor Strange #1 – A
Writer: Jason Aaron
Artists: Chris Bachalo and Kevin Knowlan

Doctor Strange is one of those characters I should love. Every element of his DNA should speak to my DNA, but his comics are just the worst. They’re all boring and meandering, and one time it was about baseball. I feel like I’m owed an apology. But this was a good #1. I was stoked to see Bachalo’s name on the cover, someone whose art I’ve been bonkers for since ye olde days of Generation X, the best Marvel comic only I, apparently, ever read. Strange makes strange housecalls, and he comes across an emerging pattern of a race of supernatural creatures called Soul Eaters who are fleeing the lower dimensions and making their exit via the heads and souls of people in the 616. I think it’s still 616. Is it? The story ends with a coda: magister Szandor Zoso tries to send a message through the dimensions that a threat called the Emipikul are murdering everything supernatural. Then he gets murdered. It’s a very Grant Morrison friendly setup, and I think I may have found a Doctor Strange comic to convert me. – Montgomery

Second Opinion (C+)So much exposition. But a good start to a series that will hopefully be a little more show vs. tell from here on out. – Adrian


Groot #5 – A-
Writer: Jeff Loveness
Artist: Brian Kesinger

Words can’t describe just how adorable this series is. It tugs on the heartstrings like no other book can quite do. Groot teaches readers about the value of friendship and love, all while making us laugh in the process. This issue marks the end of the arc, and the series. Groot and Rocket will pick up again soon in their own self-titled series, which is nice. Both Groot and Rocket Raccoon ended much earlier than they should have. If you’ve read this book, then go hug a tree. – Sherif

Second Opinion (A)Were Groot and Rocket just out in space while Earth mutated into Battle World? Oh, it’s also a good story. – Montgomery

Third Opinion (B+)You know that feeling you get in Wall-E when he may not wake up and Eve starts to freak out? That is basically the feeling you have in the last half of this issue. Also, the art for tiny Groot is the best. – Adrian


Invincible Iron Man #1 – A-
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: David Marquez
Colorist: Justin Ponsor

Seeing Tony Stark faced with the sad realization that he isn’t the smartest person on Earth is kinda nice. Believing that this is the same Tony Stark that was just in Superior, not so much. I’m sure it can be attributed to some gaps caused by the stupid Secret Wars disruption in timing; I really like that Tony’s turned his attitude around. This debut is just as funny as Superior, but you end up loving Iron Man by the end of it instead of hating him. Plus, the art in here is some of the best I’ve seen Marvel put out in a long time. There’s a specific panel with Madame Masque that had me floored. I can tell Marvel is betting a lot on this horse, so I’m confident that it will only get better. – Sherif


Old Man Logan #5 – B+
Writer:
Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Andrea Sorrentino

The last of another Secret Wars title and sadly I feel this series as a whole was quite dull, especially compared to the original Old Man Logan. Seeing as it is Secret Wars though, a lot of the story relied on the support of other stories to give you an idea of how these other worlds in Battleworld function. Ultimately, it gives us a very enjoyable and mind-bending ending and makes me think this series may have worked better as a one shot combining issue #1 and issue #5, or having it be much shorter as issue #2-4 seemed to not add much to the story at all (other than catapulting Logan to different spots). I do feel this issue though was the best of the 5 and Bendis does deserve a lot of credit for making one of these Secret Wars off-shoot titles work within the main Secret Wars storyline without sacrificing the character at hand. I do find Andrea Sorrentino’s art a bit distracting still, despite it being beautiful, as the lack of colors in some panels makes what you are looking at quite confusing, but again, beautiful none the less. – Jacob

Second Opinion (B): I give it a question mark because I’m not sure what happened. But I do know I’m all about a Wolverine comic written by Lemire. Lemire is my shit! – Montgomery


Secret Wars #6 – B+
Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Artist:Esad Ribic

Finally we get issue #6! Seems like it has been forever since I read issue #5 but even with the wait, this issue pack in a lot in the few pages it has to do so. We really get into why Battleworld exists and God Doom’s ultimate plan, making this the most plot driven issue in the main Secret Wars storyline. Jonathan Hickman does a great job with this issue making sure it doesn’t feel overwhelming while also packing as much as possible into it and also bringing more characters into the fray in ways that really make you see God Doom is not as godly as you may think in previous issues, plus THE THING!!!! Esad Ribic’s art is absolutely spectacular this issue and he really brings out that character emotions perfectly this issue and some of those panels I want to just hang on my wall. Ultimately this issue was delayed a bit but after reading other Secret Wars titles I can say it was probably a good idea since a lot of what has happened outside this title holds precedence in this issue and yet it also works without reading every title for the event.

Second Opinion (C)I found the issue to be a lot of fun. I was able to gather what had happened and what was currently going on. It’s by no mean earth shattering amazement, but entertaining just the same. – Jené


Spider-Island #5 – B+
Writer: Christos Cage
Artist: Paco Diaz

The final issue of Spider-Island was a pretty satisfying resolution. The lair of the Spider Queen is stormed, and Flash Thompson’s symbiote sacrifices itself to save everyone. Dino-Thor (get it? He’s a Thor, and it sounds like dinosaur? But with a lisp?) shows up to say “what the f, guys?” and Peter Parker becomes the new baron. Que “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” by Simple Minds. Mid-air freeze frame high-five. On an unrelated note: I’ve notice a lot of Hispanic and Latino names popping up in the creator credits for this Marvel event. Kind of cool that Marvel is getting ahead of that cultural trend. I’m sure DC will respond by raping and then murdering the rest of its female characters. Because they’re edgy. – Montgomery


Star Wars #10 – B
Writer: Jason Aaron
Artist: Stuart Immonen
Colorist: Justin Ponsor

Star Wars is still running strong. But I still don’t care about this extra Solo person. Han being previously married just isn’t a very interesting storyline to me. Also, a hut with legs is actually quite unnerving. I like the build up the issue has. I can’t wait for some good Jedi-on-rancor action. The odd pairing of C-3PO and Chewbacca is entertaining enough. This wasn’t an overly deep issue but it was entertaining. Although, if I see any more Gungans I’m going to lose my mind. I can’t believe I had to read how they sound. Oh and Dengar, yeah Dengar. – Scott

Second Opinion (B+)This issue has everything, even a Gungan talking to Dengar! But it really delves into a deeper story and one that will likely help us understand a little more of how Luke became a Jedi. – Jacob


Amazing Spider-Man #1 – B-
Writer: Dan Slott
Artist: Giuseppe Camuncoli

Amazing Reboot #1 was just short of amazing. The action was great, the jokes (subtle and corny) were on point, and the art was wonderful. However, there’s a HUGE gap with the book not explaining just how this new and improved Spidey became so good at… everything. He’s lauded as the “poor man’s Tony Stark,” but really, he’s basically Batman now. He knows new languages, builds incredible tech for himself, and breaks hearts along the way. At the end of the day, this is the new Amazing Spider-Man, and you’ll either love it or continue hating it. – Sherif

Second Opinion (C)I wasn’t overly impressed with this issue. There was no explanation for… well anything. The first half was great. Spider-Man and Mockingbirds banter was well worth the price, but one Peter Parker became the poor-man’s Iron Man, I was pretty lost. Congrats on the heart-shaped Spidey undies though, Parker. – Adrian


Darth Vader #10 – C+
Writer: Kieron Gillen
Artist: Salvador Larroca
Colorist: Edgar Delgado

That Triple Zero is a cold-oiled droid. I felt like a big chuck of this issue was lacking in substance, coming in on Vader killing some strange look aliens is fun and all, but he was almost left out of his own comic. Doctor Aphra did all of the work this time around. Going back to Naboo was a little weird. I know we’re ten issues in but the crossing of the old world and the new still just doesn’t feel right. I’m also starting to wane on the murder twins. It’s a funny bit because it’s really unexpected but I feel like every chance there is we’re being reminded that they are evil. It might be time for a new gag. – Scott

Second Opinion (B+): Darth Vader and Aphra make a dangerous team, especially with the droids BT-1 and 000 with them along for the ride. This series keeps getting better and am excited for what is to come next. Kieron Gillen is absolutely killing it with this series; the man knows how to write space epics! – Jacob


Contest of Champions #1 – C+
Writer: Al Ewing
Artist: Paco Medina

I enjoyed this book a lot more than I thought I would. It’s basically Murder World for A-list heroes and villains, but it feels much more natural than the slopfest that was in Avengers Arena. We’re thrown in the middle of a few different fights, and they’re all entertaining for the most part. Al Ewing’s (Loki: Agent of Asgard) is excellent at writing clever banter, so even the lulls kept me engaged. My favorite part of the book is when we’re introduced to White Fox, a badass Korean superheroine new to the Marvel U; hopefully, she is more than a token. Overall, not the strongest premiere issue, but it has potential to be awesome once some of the story is fleshed out. – Sherif

Second Opinion (C+): While the idea of different champions fighting each other to the death is cool, wasn’t that what Battleworld was? British Punisher was really cool, but I got confused on his timeline. T-Rexes are Hydra? And the Guillotine story seemed tacked on. – Adrian


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.

Dropping Science: Marvel’s October Hip-Hop Variants

After immense success with putting Hip-Hop duo Run the Jewels on the cover of a few of their books, Marvel has expanded the idea to give each and every single book in their All-New All-Different line-up its own Hip-Hop variant. We’ve tracked down each cover, provided information about the album inspiring the variant cover, and given our two cents on whether it fits the subject. We’ll be doing this each month for as long as the All-New All-Different brand keeps putting out variants!

October 7th

Amazing Spider- Man #1 - Midnight MaraudersAmazing Spider-Man #1
Marvel Creative Team: Dan Slott (Writer), Giuseppe Camuncoli (Artist)
Cover Artist: Mike Del Mundo
Hip-Hop Album: A Tribe Called Quest’s Midnight Marauders (1993)
Best Tracks off the Album: “Award Tour,” “Electric Relaxation,” “Oh My God
How well does it fit?: The cover to Midnight Marauders is legendary for the faces in its background, compiled of some of the most famous artists in the biz at the timeAmazing Spider-Man also seems to love this concept, and includes a bunch of famous Spider-faces new and old – even those who will not make appearances in the book.

Contest of Champions #1 - Liquid SwordsContest of Champions #1
Marvel Creative Team: Al Ewing (Writer), Paco Medina (Artist)
Cover Artist: Denys Cowan/Bill Sienkiewicz
Hip-Hop Album: GZA’s Liquid Swords (1995)
Best Tracks off the Album: “Liquid Swords,” “Shadowboxin‘”
How well does it fit?: This book is going to be full of the leftovers of everything enjoyable from Battleworld and smush it back together with pretty drawings and fight scenes in a shallow attempt to recapture the magic… hey! Just like this GZA album. MAJOR shout-out to Milestone Media co-founder Denys Cowan for working on this variant cover. Don’t know the name? Look it up!

Dr. Strange #1 - The ChronicDoctor Strange #1
Marvel Creative Team: Jason Aaron (Writer), Chris Bachalo (Artist)
Cover Artist: Juan Doe
Hip-Hop Album: Dr. Dre’s The Chronic (1992)
Best Tracks off the Album: “Nuthin’ But A G Thang,” “Let Me Ride,” “F*ck With Dre Day (And Everybody’s Celebratin’)
How well does it fit?: Well, there’s the obvious name similarity. Like Doctor Dre, the good Doctor Stephen Strange seems to be all powerful and everybody respects him… but he doesn’t really seem to do anything specifically worth praising. 

Invincible Iron Man #1 - Get Rich or Die TryinInvincible Iron-Man #1
Marvel Creative Team: Brian Michael Bendis (Writer), David Marquez (Artist)
Cover Artist: Brian Stelfreeze
Hip-Hop Album: 50 Cent’s Get Rich or Die Tryin’ (2003)
Best Tracks off the Album: “In Da Club,” “21 Questions,” “If I Can’t,” “Life’s on the Line
How well does it fit?: The biggest difference between Tony Stark and Curtis Jackson isn’t a genius intellect or tendency to play superhero, it’s that 50 Cent is BROKE AS F*CK.

October 14th

Extraordinary X-Men #1 - 3 Feet High and RisingExtraordinary X-Men #1
Marvel Creative Team: Jeff Lemire (Writer), Humberto Ramos (Artist)
Cover Artist: Sanford Greene
Hip-Hop Album: De La Soul’s 3 Feet High and Rising (1989)
Best Tracks off the Album: “Me, Myself and I,” “Buddy,” “Say No Go,” “Eye Know
How well does it fit?: De La Soul were on the front lines of the wacky, relatable, and socially responsible rhymes. With Lemire writing this new X-Men series, it’s about damn time the X-series got back to its roots.

Update: The release of Extraordinary X-Men #1 has been moved to November 4th.

Guardians of the Galaxy #1 - Bizarre Ride IIGuardians of the Galaxy #1
Marvel Creative Team: Brian Michael Bendis (Writer), Valerio Schiti (Artist)
Cover Artist: Shawn Crystal
Hip-Hop Album: Pharcyde’s Bizarre Ride II the Pharcyde (1992)
Best Tracks off the Album: “Passin’ Me By,” “Ya Mama,” “Officer
How well does it fit?: The Pharcyde have always been regarded as the “weirdos,” choosing a more melodic tone over gangster tales (which was huge for the early 90’s in LA). Likewise, the most recent Guardians seemed to overcome all odds to become a household name.

New Avengers #1 - The MessageNew Avengers #1
Marvel Creative Team: Al Ewing (Writer), Gerardo Sandoval (Artist)
Cover Artist: Ed Piskor
Hip-Hop Album: Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five’s The Message (1982)
Best Tracks off the Album: “The Message,” “The Adventures of Grandmaster Flash on the Wheels of Steel
How well does it fit?: “The Message” is one of the most humble songs in the history of Hip-Hop, taking aim at social injustice and poverty in the black community. New Avengers? It has Kid Hulk… Yes, this book is going to have to depend on great dialog and humor. Not looking forward to this book.

Sam Wilson Captain America #1 - Long.Live.A$APSam Wilson: Captain America #1
Marvel Creative Team: Nick Spencer (Writer), Daniel Acuna (Artist)
Cover Artist: Mahmud Asrar
Hip-Hop Album: A$AP Rocky’s Long.Live.A$AP (2013)
Best Tracks off the Album: “Wild for the Night,” “F*ckin’ Problems,” “Golie
How well does it fit?: A$AP Rocky might be a wonderful artist, who knows? I’m not going to take the time to find out, and sadly, I feel the same way about Sam Wilson being the new Captain America. That being said, it’s a beautiful adaptation of the original cover.

Spider-Gwen #1 - The Great Adventures of Slick RickSpider-Gwen #1
Marvel Creative Team: Jason Latour (Writer), Robbi Rodriguez (Artist)
Cover Artist: Humberto Ramos
Hip-Hop Album: Slick Rick’s The Great Adventures of Slick Rick (1988)
Best Tracks off the Album: “Children’s Story,” “Hey Young World,” “Mona Lisa,” “Teenage Love
How well does it fit?: Slick Rick was the piece that fit the Hip-Hop scene so well that you almost overlooked the fact that he was a British pirate. Gwen Stacy, similarly, is a product of her multiverse – a damsel in distress that’s supposed to be dead, but instead is one of the hottest new superheroes in the Marvel U.

Uncanny Avengers #1 - Yo! Bum Rush the ShowUncanny Avengers #1
Marvel Creative Team: Gerry Duggan (Writer), Ryan Stegman (Artist)
Cover Artist: Jason Pearson
Hip-Hop Album: Public Enemy’s Yo! Bum Rush the Stage (1987)
Best Tracks off the Album: “Public Enemy No. 1,” “Miuzi Weighs A Ton,” “You’re Gonna Get Yours,” “Sophisticated B*itch
How well does it fit?: Well, there’s Miles Morales, Ms. Marvel, Thor, Sam Wilson, and Iron Man… So I’m calling it now – Nova is going to be this book’s Flavor Flav. This is by far one of the most diverse teams in Marvel’s line-up, so if they have anything resembling the real talk that Mistachuck can spit, it’ll be a well-deserved homage.

Spider-Man 2099 - Cruel SummerSpider-Man 2099 #1
Marvel Creative Team: Peter David (Writer), William Silney (Artist)
Cover Artist: Afu Chan
Hip-Hop Album: G.O.O.D. Music’s Cruel Summer (2012)
Best Tracks off the Album: “Mercy.1,” “New God Flow.1,” “Don’t Like.1,” “Clique
How well does it fit?: G.O.O.D. Music created enough momentum just using Kanye West’s name to get attention, but not enough to really make an impact. That’s pretty much exactly what’s been going on with Miguel O’Hara. Hopefully this new team can take him back into the realm of relevance.

October 21st

Angela Queen of Hel #1 - Pink FridayAngela: Queen of Hel #1
Marvel Creative Team: Marguerite Bennett (Writer), Stephanie Hans (Artist)
Cover Artist: Annie Wu
Hip-Hop Album: Nicki Minaj’s Pink Friday (2010)
Best Tracks off the Album: “Roman’s Revenge,” “SuperB ass,” “Moment 4 Life,” “Blazin
How well does it fit?: It’s a pretty bold statement to let Angela’s dopplegänger to be Nicki Minaj. They must really be desperate to sell some books for the Asgardian. However, Angela is just as insane and deadly as Nicki is with her lyrics.

Karnak #1 - Saturday NightKarnak #1
Marvel Creative Team: Warren Ellis (Writer), Gerardo Zaffino (Artist)
Cover Artist: Kaare Andrews
Hip-Hop Album: Schoolly D’s Saturday Night (1986)
Best Tracks off the Album: “Saturday Night,” “We Get Ill
How well does it fit?: Karnak and Schoolly D have one district trait in common. I do not plan on picking anything up with their name on it anytime soon. 

The Astonishing Ant-Man #1- Ready to DieThe Astonishing Ant-Man #1
Marvel Creative Team: Nick Spencer (Writer), Ramon Rosanas (Artist)
Cover Artist: Mark Brooks
Hip-Hop Album: The Notorious B.I.G.’s Ready to Die (199?)
Best Tracks off the Album: “Juicy,” “Big Poppa,” “Suicidal Thoughts,” “Gimme the Loot,” “Machine Gun Funk,” “Warning,” “Who Shot Ya
How well does it fit?: The irony is overwhelming here. Really though, how does Scott Lang sit side by side with the legendary Notorious B.I.G.? Well, like Biggie, pretty much anything with the new Ant-Man on the cover is worth adding to your collection. Ready to Die was also Big’s first album and the platform he used to rocket to stardom.

Uncanny Inhumans #1 - AqueminiUncanny Inhumans #1
Marvel Creative Team: Charles Soule (Writer), Steve McNiven (Artist)
Cover Artist: Damion Scott
Hip-Hop Album: Outkast’s Aquemini (199?)
Best Tracks off the Album: “Rosa Park,” “SpottieOttieDopalicious
How well does it fit?: Outkast is like other Atlanta Hip-Hop acts, except it’s not. They’re weird. They’re fascinating. They’re BETTER. Same goes for the super-race of Inhumans from Attilan(ta). 

October 28th

The Howling Commandos #1 - 6 Feet Deep '06The Howling Commandos #1
Marvel Creative Team: Frank Barbiere (Writer), Brent Schoonover (Artist)
Cover Artist: Wilfred Santiago
Hip-Hop Album: Gravediggaz’s 6 Feet Deep ’06 (199?)
Best Tracks off the Album: “Diary of a Madman,” “1-800-Suicide
How well does it fit?: What a better way to show that your book is full of crazy monsters than with a Gravediggaz album cover? One of the most manic groups in rap is a perfect fit for The Howling Commandos. That’s assuming the book isn’t a corny mess of horribleness.

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #1 - WolfThe Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #1
Marvel Creative Team: Ryan North (Writer), Erica Henderson (Artist)
Cover Artist: Phil Noto
Hip-Hop Album: Tyler the Creator’s Wolf (199?)
Best Tracks off the Album: “Domo23,” “Tamale,” “Jamba
How well does it fit?: As childish as Tyler can be, he’s also pretty damn smart and resourceful. And with his group (former group?) standing behind him, Tyler is brazen enough to say and do some of the silliest things in all of Hip-Hop. Doreen is no different. With her misfit college friends and Tippy the Talking Squirrel, she kicks butt and takes names at the same time!

That about does it for Marvel’s new books and the Hip-Hop variants that come with them. Check back next month for a whole new set of entries.

 

This Week’s Comics – October 7th, 2015

This Week’s Comics is the pull list of Comic Books recommended by Hush Comics, with notes and suggestions by co-owner, Sherif Elkhatib.

Recommendations:

All-New All-Different Marvel: The new relaunch from Marvel is finally being realized. Many of the titles out this week are new #1’s, and they all look pretty interesting. The “biggest” title (if we’re going by marketing) is Invincible Iron Man, but the Point One issue should give fans a broad understanding of what is going on in the Marvel U.

TMNT #50: Holy crapballs! I can’t believe we’re at issue #50 of this reboot. It’s made me very nostalgic, and I will likely lock myself in a dark room as I read this by candlelight. Good news, bad news… Good news: This will be a distinguished starting point for new fans to start reading #51. Bad news: I have no idea what that means for the current saga. Are they setting off a complete relaunch in story? A do over? Whatever it is, I’m in for the long haul!

Image finally gets back on track: After a few weeks of quiet horizons, Image is melting people’s faces back again with several awesome new titles. Codename Baboushka: The Conclave of Death (what if the sexy Russian Bond girl was the hero), Paper Girls (written by Brian K Freaking Vaughan), and Saints (a Dexter-style murder mystery book) all debut. Also, Hush favorites NailbiterSouthern Bastards, and Copperhead return.


Graphic Novels:

Bob Powell’s Complete Jet Powers (Dark Horse)
Bitch Planet Volume 1: Extraordinary Machine (Image)
Convergence
(DC)
Convergence Zero Hour Volume 1 (DC)
Convergence Zero Hour Volume 2 (DC)
Deadly Class volume 3: The Snake Pit (Image)
Deadpool by Posehn and Duggan Volume 3
(Marvel)
Doctor Strange: Don’t Pay the Ferryman (Marvel)
Edward Scissorhands Volume 2: Whole Again (IDW)
EI8HT Volume 1
(Dark Horse)
Fly Outbreak (IDW)
George R.R. Martin: A Knight of the Seven Kingdom
(an actual book!)
Ghost Fleet Volume 2: Over the Top (Dark Horse)
He-Man: The Eternity War Volume 1 (DC)
Injection Volume 1 (Image)
Jim Henson’s The Dark Crystal Creation Myths: Volume 3
(BOOM!)
Jupiter’s Circle Volume 1 (Image)
Lumberjanes: Volumes 2 (BOOM!)
Mickey Mouse: The Mysterious Crystal Ball (IDW)
Outcast by Kirkman and Azaceta Volume 2 (Image)
S.H.I.E.L.D.: The Complete Collection Omnibus (Marvel)Secret Six Volume 3: Cat’s Cradle
(DC)
Sherlock Holmes and the Necronomicon (Dark Horse)
Star Wars Vader Volume 1: Vader (Marvel)
Star Wars Volume 1: Skywalker Strikes (Marvel)
Story of My Tits (IDW)
Robotech Voltron (Dynamite)
X-Files: 30 Days of Night (IDW)
Warhammer 40K Overfiend (Black Library)

Comic Books:

Archie Comics
Jughead #1

BOOM! Studios
Cluster #8
Regular Show #28
Rowans Ruin #1

Dark Horse Comics
Adam.3 #3
Angel and Faith Season 10 #19
Barb Wire #4
Dead Vengeance #1
Goon: Once Upon A Hard Time #4 (final issue)
Lara Croft and the Frozen Omen #1
This Damned Band #3
Tomorrows #3

DC Comics
Action Comics #45
Batman and Robin Eternal #1
Batman: Arkham Knight #9
Batman Beyond #5
Cyborg #3
Detective Comics #45
Green Arrow #45
Green Arrow Annual #1
Green Lantern #45
Injustice Gods Among Us: Year Four #11
Lobo #11
Midnighter #5
Mortal Kombat #11
Omega Men #5
Sensations Comics featuring Wonder Woman #15
Survivors Club #1
Telos #1

Dynamite Entertainment:
Aliens Vampirella #2
Bob’s Burgers #4
Grumpy Cat #1
Justice Inc The Avenger #5
Masks 2 #7
Train Called Love #1

Fantagraphics Books:
Hip-Hop Family Tree #2

IDW:
Angry Birds: Super Angry Birds #2
BOY-1 #3
D4VE2 #2
Drive #2
Haunted Horror #19
October Faction #9
String Divers #3
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #50
TET #2
Transformers: Robots in Disguise Animated #3
Transformers vs. G.I. Joe #9
X-Files: Season 11 #3

Image Comics:
8House: Arclight #4
Axcend
#1
CBLDF Liberty Annual 2015
Codename Baboushka: The Conclave of Death #1
Copperhead #10
Dark Corridor #3
Humans #8
Minimum Wage: So Man Bad Decisions #6 (final issue)
Nailbiter #16
Paper Girls #1
Plutona #2
Saints #1
Southern Bastards #11
Starve #5
Surface #4
We Stand On Guard #4

Marvel:
1602: Witch Hunter Angela #4
All-New All-Different Marvel Point One
#1
Amazing Spider-Man #1
Avengers #0
Contest of Champions #1
Darth Vader #10
Doctor Strange #1
Future Imperfect #1
Groot #5
Invincible Iron Man #1
Journey to Star Wars Force Awakens: Shattered Empire #2
Miracleman by Gaiman and Buckingham #3
Old Man Logan #5
Powers #5
Secret Wars #6
Siege #4
Spider-Island #5 (final issue)
Star Wars #10
Star Wars: Lando #5 (final issue)
What If: Infinity Inhumans (one-shot)
What If: Infinity Thanos (one-shot)

Comic Book Reviews 09-30-15

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:

ghost racers 4 POTW

Ghost Racers #4 – A+
Writer: Felipe Smith
Artist: Juan Gedeon
Colorist: Tamra Bonvillain

DAMN! This issue was incredible. After his brother’s kidnapping, Robbie returns to the Killiseum with a vengeance. He’s done with being a slave. He’s done with running away. Pissed as all hell, he finally faces the rest of the ignition spirits and after banding together, unleash mega vengeance. Alejandra’s sweet revenge is absolutely brutal! Watching that son of a bitch get run over by all the people he oppressed was incredibly satisfying. It seems like this might be the last issue. The story wrapped up really well where they left it and as much as I’d love to read more, I almost wish they’d leave it be. We’ll have to see what they decide to do with the story next. Hopefully if they do continue it, they’ll do so tastefully. – Charlotte

Other Reviews: 

Archie Comics:

Archie #3 – B-
Writer: Mark Waid
Artist: Fiona Staples

I’d be lying if I said this book hasn’t lost at least a little bit of its charm, but it’s still drawn beautifully and has enough cutesy humor to keep me engaged. Archie is helplessly twitterpated by any pretty face that happens by, and now the legendary feud between Veronica and Betty begins. Comic mischief is abundant here, but it’s not much more than a cute, fun book. – Sherif

DC/Vertigo Comics:

Justice League #44 – B+
Writer: Geoff Johns
Artist: Jason Fabok
Colors: Brad Anderson

Geoff Johns sure does know how to pace a book. In what was one of the shortest DC books this week, it was by far the most entertaining. I was on the edge of my seat through the whole time yelling “JUST TELL US WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON!” We get some background on the Anti-Monitor, and some messed up stuff is happening to Flash and Superman. Oh, and Batman is still a god. This isn’t even talking about the insanity that ensues at the end of the book. It’s all shaping for one of the largest scale events DC’s had thus far – and with all the other books under-performing, DC should be thankful. – Sherif


New Suicide Squad Annual #1 – B-
Writer: Sean Ryan
Artist: Philippe Briones
Colorist: Blond

Reverse Flash! No! This was a decent issue. It’s definitely not an entrance point for Suicide Squad, though. I found myself a little lost throughout it, but for the most part, I enjoyed it. Reverse Flash’s narrative was really interesting and his death came as a big shock. Overall, it wasn’t a bad ride, but it wasn’t anything to brag about either. – Charlotte


Batman Annual #4 – C+
Writer: James Tynion IV
Artist: Roge Antonio
Colors: Dave McCaig

To my delight, I’ve finally read an Annual that didn’t suck, and actually had an impact on future goings on in a book. Furry Bruce Wayne has lost all his memories of being the Batman, but it seems like the past is finally catching up to him when he is given back Wayne Manor (see Arkham Manor). A few unexpected guests come through and he is forced to recall some training to whoop on the unexpected guests. Has he been hiding recovered memories from us? Probably, he’s the GD Batman after all. But most eyebrow raising is the potential for a Bruce Wayne wedding, or – more likely – a Julie Madison death. – Sherif


Superman #44 – C
Writer: Gene Luen Yang
Artist: John Romita Jr.

After dropping the bomb of how Lois Lane revealed Superman’s secret identity, there’s been a buttload of trouble for Clark Kent. I’m not sure if this is a metaphor for coming out of the closet or some weird TMZ paparazzi parallel, but it sucks to be Clark right now. Superman also makes a pivotal decision to call out villains via social media – yes, Superman is now a YouTube gangster. Calling out villains and threatening them if they hurt his friends was probably the last card he had to play, but it’s still kinda lame. The story also went nowhere – another villain of the month kinda deal. All in all, a lackluster issue after such a series-changing event happened. – Sherif


Grayson Annual #2 – D
Writers: Tim Seeley, Tom King
Artist: Alvaro Martinez
Colors: Jeromy Cox

The power of plugs is strong with this one. More than half of this issue is dedicated to Clark Kent and Dick Grayson awkwardly explaining this shitstorm of events that the new DCYOU has put them through. It’s an effective way to bring readers up to speed, and they do it in a visually-distracting way by enacting a fight scene with a bunch of lunatics in the process. Overall, though, it does not come across as a genuine attempt to tell a story. It’s completely unnecessary to exist in the first place – par for the course in these Annuals. – Sherif

IDW Publishing: 

Infinite Loop #6 – C
Writer: Pierrick Colinet
Artist/Colorist: Elsa Charretier
 

After reading the last issue of Infinite Loop I am left wanting more than I got. Overall, I think the art outshined the story telling and it’s a good story. It just falls in ways that are disappointing. It’s a cute love story that’s central theme is tolerance and fighting for what you believe in. Cool, but I was hungering for more than just cute. I do hope this mini-series results in something longer. The short space in which to tell this story was hurt it unfortunately. – Jené  

Image Comics:

Postal #7 – A-
Writer: Bryan Hill, Matt Hawkins
Artist: Isaac Goodhart

This is going to sound weird, but it’s really nice to see a black writer who can write a black character who sounds like a REAL black person. It’s so much more rare than it sounds. Anyway, I can’t help but feel badly for Mark. No matter which junction in the story we’re at, the book kind of advances solely based on who can screw him over the hardest. This issue, it seems the award is going to Maggie. What I love about Hill is that he knows how to hold back enough of the future plot to keep us all hooked, but distracts us with something new and shiny each issue to keep things moving. Postal is quietly one of the best books in Image’s arsenal right now. – Sherif

Second Opinion (A)Postal #7 successfully added more intrigue and mystery to the story. With the introduction of new characters, Eden’s traditions, and whatever mission Maggie is on – good or bad – I can’t imagine this series dropping off at any point. If you’re not reading this one, you really should be. – Keriann


Rasputin #9 — B
Writer: Alex Grecian
Artist: Riley Rossmo
Colorist: Ivan Plasencia
 

Woah…Looks like we’ve met Rasputin’s foil!?  What I liked about this issue was the Russian mysticism that was woven in. I feel I need to go look up Russian folk tales now. Prince Koshel appears to be an eternal like Rasputin. And I can’t tell if the power of immortality passed from him to Rasputin during their showdown or if the Prince is truly dead. As always I really enjoyed the art and the coloring it brings the story along when there is little narrative in the story. Issue wasn’t mind blowing but still better than average. – Jené


From Under Mountains #1 — C
Writer: Claire Gibson
Artist/Colorist: Sloane Leong
 

I’m curious if the writer was inspired by ancient Ankara or if the name just shares a similarity. Would be pretty cool if it was. At first issues go it was gripping enough that I want to find out what happens in the next issue. Things I wasn’t so keen on: “lady who is smart but will get married off for political reasons” I’m so very over this trope. It sets for very predictable plot points. Who knows, maybe I’ll be wrong. It’s been known to happen. I am also pretty sure the artist is the same who worked on Archlight. It’ll be interesting to see their work in a different story. – Jené

Second Opinion (C): Not a super interesting story, but Leong’s art is entrancing, and fits the oriental theme. I never say this, but the book could have benefitted by having more dialog. – Sherif

Marvel/Icon Comics:

X-Men ’92 #4 – A
Writers: Chris Sims & Chad Bowers
Artist: Scott Koblish

What a great and fitting ending to this short Secret Wars series! I am glad to know this series will continue into the All New All Different Marvel that is coming after all this Secret Wars business is over. But the ending this series had was written perfectly by Chris Sims and Chad Bowers who chose a couple details left open and some characters focused on that were perfect for any 90’s X-Men fan. The second epilogue ending left this series off in a way that also will have most 90’s X-Men fan very happy and looking forward to the #1 coming in 2016. With the addition of X-Force and Generation X, the new seires will likely become the best X-Men series Marvel will have going into 2016. The artwork on this issue is perfect and really shows us what we can expect with many modern elements like Cassandra Nova present as well as other ‘90s X-Teams we can assuredly expect a great representation of all things X-Men we know and love. – Jacob


E is for Extinction #4 – A
Writers: Chris Burnham and Dennis Culver
Art: Ramon Villalobos

E is for Extinction is, without a doubt, the finest collection of four issues in all of Secret Wars so far. Everything about it was just so fucking cool. I’m actually bummed it’s over now. The fourth issue is the showdown between Cassandra piloting the body of a reborn Jean and Professor X piloting the body of a recently deceased Quentin. Cassandra wants… what does she even want? Probably just wanton destruction and the death of her brother is my guess. But they’re too evenly matched, AND she fights dirty. I mean, I don’t even want to say what happens next, because it’s the best kind of fan service on every level. The ending is a little vague. It left me wondering, “Wait. Where was Xorn during all that?” And, if Marvel is reading this, I would 1,000% percent love a comic about Xorn either travelling across the country solving Hellboy style mysteries, or an X-Men book where he helms the school and leads a Morrison styled team of more-misfit-than-militia style students. Oh, and this picture? You know who that is? Yeah, that’s the 8th page. Not even a spoiler. – Montgomery


Captain America: White #2 – A-
Writer: Jeph Loeb
Artist: Tim Sale

The follow up to one of the best #1’s I’ve ever read was still solid, but because it was such a short read, it didn’t leave me with the same profound impression I got from the first book. That being said, it’s REALLY good. Tim Sale continues to kill it on the art, and Jeph Loeb continues to place humor and time-appropriate dialog in one of the most well-rounded books on the shelves in years. There’s actually a message to get across, and Loeb does it without sounding too preachy or corny (I mean, by Cap’s standards, anyway). It’s a great book and I predict that it’ll only continue to get better. – Sherif


S.H.I.E.L.D. #10 – B+
Writer: Mark Waid
Artist: Evan “Doc” Shaner
Colorist: VC’s Joe Caramagna

S.H.I.E.L.D. #10 works well as a one off issue and doesn’t take too much getting used to with Jeremiah Warrick even as we also have Howard the Duck guest staring for one issue in order to help with a major problem only he can fix. For a fun side adventure to bring Howard into the mix it also works well as a side adventure for S.H.I.E.L.D.. For a huge Howard fan, one panel in this is quite monumental in showing almost all of Howard’s history, and the story definitely is a bit confusing as is a lot of Howard stories. But Mark Waid does a great job with the story although it does stay rather crazy, but the reaction of Howard to Jeremiah is great and sets up exactly how Howard and S.H.I.E.L.D. feel about one another while also leaving future stories available. I love Evan “Doc” Shaner’s art and his Howard the Duck style is great and make me hope to see another appearance in the run of S.H.I.E.LD. – Jacob

Second Opinion (D+): What even was that issue? Literally nothing made sense in this. The villain is thrown in haphazardly out of nowhere and while the Duck Avengers were funny, they really didn’t service the plot. The whole thing was just damn strange. Looks like the writers are having a dry spell right now. This was entirely filler, and stupid filler at that. – Charlotte


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.

This Week’s Comics – September 30th, 2015

This Week’s Comics is the pull list of Comic Books recommended by Hush Comics, with notes and suggestions by co-owner, Sherif Elkhatib.

Recommendations:

From Under Mountains #1: Fantasy, folk-lore and monsters? Count me in! This could be the industry’s answer to the end of Fables. Written by the creator of 8House: Arclight and newcomer Claire Gibson, this should be a refreshing reentry to fantasy for me.

Captain America: White #2: Dang, we get treated to TWO issues of the mythical Captain America: White in one month. Christmas has come early. If you didn’t already know, the premiere of this book garnered an A-freakin’ plus from me, so of course you should read the second installment.

DC’s Annuals: Just kidding. Stay away from these. They probably all suck. Read Justice League or Sandman:Overture instead. In general, DC kinda sucks right now.


Graphic Novels:

Arrow: Seaon 2.5 (DC)
Batman Vol 6: Graveyard Shift (DC)
Empty Vol 1 (Image)
Empty Man: Vol 1
(BOOM!)
Material Vol 1 (Image)
Moon Knight Vol 3: In the Night (Marvel)
Robocop: Dead or Alive (BOOM!)
TMNT Adventures Volume 10 (IDW)
The Walking Dead Vol 12 HC (Image)
X-Files Season 10: Volume 5 (IDW)

Comic Books:

Archie Comics
Archie #3

BOOM! Studios
Amazing World Of Gumball 2015 Grab Bag #1
Bee and Puppycat #9
Munchkin #9

Dark Horse Comics
Colder Toss the Bones #1
Conan the Avenger #18
Zodiac Starforce #2

DC Comics
Aquaman #44
Batman Annual #4
Batman: Arkham Knight Annual #1
Grayson Annual #2
Green Lantern Annual #4
Justice League #44
New Suicide Squad Annual #1
Sandman: Overture #6 (final issue)
Superman #44
Wonder Woman ’77 Special #2

Dynamite Entertainment:
King Prince Valiant #4 (final issue)
Swords of Sorrow: Red Sonja/Jungle Girl #3 (final issue)
Vampirella 2015 Annual

Fantagraphics Books:
Hip-Hop Family Tree #2

IDW:
Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency #4
Ghostbusters Get Real #4 (final issue)
Godzilla in Hell #3
Infinite Loop #6 (final issue)
Jem and the Holograms Annual #1
Transformers:More Than Meets the Eye #45
Uncle Scrooge #6
Zombies vs. Robots #9

Image Comics:
Drifter #8
From Under Mountains #1
Mantle #5
Morning Glories #48
Postal #7
Rasputin #9
Revival #33
Savage Dragon #207
Sex #24
Sons of the Devil #5
Spawn #256
Spread #10
Stray Bullets: Sunshine and Roses #8
They’re Not Like Us #8

Marvel:
Captain America: White #2
E is for Extinction #4
Ghost Racers #4
Hail Hydra #3
Inferno #5
M.O.D.O.K. Assassin #5 (final issue)
S.H.I.E.L.D. #10
X-Men ’92 #4

ONI Press:
Kaijumax #6
Rick and Morty #6
Stringers #2

Gauntlet of the Geek: Are Licensed Comic Books Good for the Industry?

“Gauntlet of the Geek” is a new featured article where two of our writers debate on hot button issues in today’s nerd industry. We’re not paid to kiss ass, so see what happens when the white gloves come off and we let you all know how we really feel. Let us know whom you agree with.

Sherif’s opinion:

For the last 30-40 years in pop culture, one thing has remained constant – franchises survive. Think of your favorite fandoms – how many of them are new to the last twenty years? Star Wars, Transformers, G.I. Joe, Doctor Who, Disney…all of them have survived generations because of the way they replicate onto different mediums of consumption. Sure, tribal upbringing accounts for a fair amount of the influence, but these franchises, now corporations built off the blood money of thousands of parents desperate to immerse their offspring in the same stuff. And those blessed corporations care enough about we the consumer to keep putting out fresh material to relate one generation to the next, keeping these beloved fandoms alive. Where would TMNT be without the new Nickelodeon series? I’ll tell you where. In the retro section of a fucking Hot Topic, that’s where. Let’s not forget that the stuff kids find cool is only cool because television, movies, and toy stores tell them it’s cool. We’re just more accepting of it because we find it cool, too.

This is the price we have to pay to keep TMNT relevant.
This is the blood price we have to pay to keep TMNT relevant.

One of the best side effects of licensed comic books is the amount of pull and resources that it gives the creators. For example, the mountains of merchandising money that Disney and WB give Marvel and DC, respectively, have opened up the doors for them to take chances on titles for the lesser-known titles (like Squirrel Girl and Ms. Marvel – both of which have had HUGE success). It’s not so much making people who watch Iron Man want to pick up Extremis, but using the resources that the Iron Man movie’s exposure brings in to reallocate and try something new (which I admit is a doey-eyed way to look at the world. We all know these corporations don’t give a crap about us). Think of it as drug dealers buying winter clothing for local school children with their drug money.

I look at licensed comic books the same way I look at the honorary torch carrier at the Olympics. They shouldn’t be regarded with the elite status they once were. X-Files and Star Trek comic books should not be competing with Saga and D4VE, nor should they be marketed as such. Licensed comic books should be designed to engage readers to narrow the gaps between fandoms. One fan who loves comics but doesn’t know anything about Ghostbusters now has input to a conversation about those who love the movies but aren’t into comic books. It’s a beautiful thing when it happens.

How can you not be excited for this?? And how is Batman not impressed??
How can you not be excited for this?? And how is Batman not impressed??

However, the key is knowing when and how to bring some of the lesser-known books back into the spotlight. Unfortunately for us, there are some publishers out there who are filling nearly their entire catalog with 80’s franchises that just don’t fit in today, let alone in the comic book format. If you’re immediately thinking of IDW Publishing and Dynamite Entertainment, you’d be correct. A Django/Zorro crossover? A Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure 3? Escape From New York? Angry Birds?? You get the point. Since Image’s recent explosion of actual content in creator-owned titles, the smaller guys (BOOM!, IDW, Dynamite, Titan) have all resorted to making these kind of unnecessary branded titles part of their flagship titles, which can only end up giving the industry creative constipation.

Was it popular once? IDW will give it a miniseries!
Was it popular once? IDW will give it a miniseries!

With the successful integration of comic books into mainstream media, it’s only natural that these corporations would try to capitalize on the success of these franchises. Each of your favorite franchises began as a lowly “hopeful,” and while some of the crappier ones might be here for now, only the great ones remain. It’s how Buffyverse is still running. It’s how A Song of Ice and Fire will likely continue after George R. R. Martin ends the saga. Licensed comic books let creators continue telling stories even when they think nobody is listening anymore.

by Sherif Elkhatib

Montgomery’s opinion:
Let me get this out in the open right off the bat: licensed comics are terrible. It’s hard to pin down exactly why, but I’m going to see if I can narrow it down to a few easily observed facts. And before you get all uppity with me and shriek in your halting bat language, “But Montgomery! Don’t you semi-regularly gush about one or more Transformers comics?” I do. But that doesn’t mean the genre is redeemed, and it doesn’t make me a hero: it just means I’m weak, along with everyone else who bought Super Pro.
super pro
The Properties
Perhaps the most glaring issue right from the start is the properties they insist on convincing us are worth reading. I referenced Super Pro, but have you ever actually seen it? This is taking up space on Marvel’s hard drives as we speak.I mean, as someone who takes football very seriously (read: I don’t take it seriously at all), this is the thing I buy to reassure myself that I can be taken seriously as a human who breathes air on this planet. I mean, check out those cute Puritan-influenced cleats he’s wearing. This is a man’s comic, no doubt. But seriously folks, more often than not, a licensed comic is nothing but a cynical cash grab from one giant corporation to another. There’s no love of either art going into it, and then you’re forced to ask: “Who’s supposed to want to buy this?” I mean, the love fans of football have for comics is legendary, and the stereotype of the football playing comic nerd is so old it’s almost worn out (not to editor: forgot my sarcasm tags). But it doesn’t stop there. Love the music of Kiss? Well now you can enjoy their nuanced aesthetic with none of their complicated rhyme scheme.
kiss comics
The Writing
A misguided relative actually bought me Super Pro #1. I read it because what, am I actually going to play football? Hell to the no. It’s a story that’s nearly impossible to resurrect from the graveyard of my prepubescent memory, but one thing was painfully clear even to my eight year-old brain: this was a comic written neither for fans of football, nor fans of comics. And that’s a problem deeply inherent to the genre. Because, more often than not, the cross polinization of properties is just an attempt to capitalize on something that’s already profitable, the resultant product cannot be something the violates the spirit of either thing. It cannot offend the sensibilities of either fan base, but that almost curses it to appealing to neither fan base. Super Pro, if you care (which you almost certainly don’t) is the tragic story of a football player who gets injured nearly to death. He’s brought back from the brink courtesy of a mechanical football uniform so that he can continue… to… play football? But then realizes he’s more than just feetsballs throw man, and fights… crime? I mean, apart from about fifteen moments where I have to stop and ask, “Uh, why?”, that premise sounds like it comes straight from the mouth of that uncle we all have who hates comics and doesn’t respect us for our love. Because the end result shits on the heads of anyone who might possibly want it, every step toward that end result is just as insulting and just as steamy.Oh so, I guess I’ll just buy an adaptation of the thing I already have?!transformers the movie the comic book
Perhaps the most prevalent reason for licensed comics is the disease like pervasive presence of the “based on the hit movie” comic.Oh good, now I can be irritated, frustrated, and repulsed by one thing in two mediums.This is the point where I also have to stipulate that just because something sells, it does not mean it’s qualitatively good. I mean, everyone’s mom has a copy of Fifty Shades of Grey stashed under their mattress, but it’s not winning any awards any time soon. Right? God I hope not. I have to make that clear because comics are experiencing a sort of rebirth thanks to the herpes-like proliferation of comic book movies.

"Marvel: the herpes of comic books, but for movies."
“Marvel: the herpes of comic books, but for movies.”

I guess on one hand I have to be thankful for terrible ideas like the Avengers movie tie-in comic, but why does such a thing exist in the first place? “Duh, Montgomery,” you might start, “because people who saw the movie might want to get into comics, and this is their way in, you dumb sack of crap,” you might finish. And very rudely, I might add. And in your very rude retort (seriously, guy), you’ve proven my point: they’ve already seen the movie. Who needs to buy this comic? Apart from the compulsive collector, is there really an audience of people who like the idea of an Avengers movie enough to buy a comic based on the movie, but not enough to buy the actual comics that have been running for 50 years or to spend the $10 to see the movie in the theater? It’s a bizarre monster we’ve lived with all our lives but haven’t really noticed.

There are other reasons why licensed comics are terrible. The fact that tie-ins are often made before the movie knows what they’re doing, so you wind up with weird anachronisms; the art is just the worst, like really, do they even care; the fact that the licensed property is fenced-in so fiercely that even if it were a good idea in the first place, they don’t have much space to play around in. Really, we could talk until all the oxygen is gone, but just these three reasons should be enough to convince you to put down that comic book prequel to Transformers 5: Planet of The Earth and invest in some stocks. Or something.

by JH Montgomery

Comic Book Reviews 09-23-15

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:

We Are Robin #4

We Are Robin #4 – A
Writer: Lee Bermejo
Artist: James Harvey
Colorists: James Harvey and Alex Jaffe

The art in this issue absolutely blew me away. There was a nice Dark Knight Returns vibe going on – almost a little like 60’s pop art using collaging as a style. And the story met my expectations, too. This month, we got to focus on Riko, one of the many Robins introduced so far. In the aftermath of Troy’s death in issue #3, Riko tries to cope not only with mortality, but with her place within the “We Are Robin” group. There was some great tie-in to Lord of the Flies and the feeling of belonging for Riko. Riko’s character is portrayed incredibly well; her timidness and intelligence in real life vs. her bravery as a vigilante is very intriguing. I also really enjoyed the commentary about all the tweeting and texting. There is a moment where Riko has to make a hard decision with a bunch of punks. The tweeters and texters have to have their two cents, and it is amazing how quickly they flip on her. Batgirl’s appearance sweetens the pot of this issue. I can’t wait for all the other Robins to get their time in the spotlight, too. – Adrian

Other Reviews: 

Dark Horse:

Power Cubed #1 – B-
Writer and Artist: Aaron Lopresti
Colorist: Hi-Fi Design

This is the first of a new series from Dark Horse, and it’s falling into a world of adolescent adventure. With the popularity of the “teen adventure” genre running rampant through Hollywood, it comes as no surprise that similar comics are starting to make their way through. That being said, I did enjoy the book; it has the best use of stairs I’ve ever seen. I’m just barely interested enough in this boy’s blight to at the least read a little further. – Scott

DC/Vertigo Comics:

Grayson #12 – B+
Writers: Tim Seeley, Tom King
Pencils: Mikel Janín
Colors: Jeromy Cox

Ladies and gentlemen, nap time is over! This series, which has been a complete and utter let-down, is finally getting ready to execute the interesting part of the plot. Months (years?) ago, when the fallout of Forever Evil happened, Batman and Nightwing made plans to infiltrate Spyral and…spy on them. It’s taken what seems like forever, but Dick has finally made his survival known to the rest of the Bat-fam, and they have hacked into the spy agency. Not only was the issue full of callbacks and corny exchanges, but the promise of what is to come is legitimately exciting – something I can confidently say about like two other DC books. Don’t screw this up, Grayson! – Sherif

Batgirl #44 – B-
Writer: Cameron Stewart, Brenden Fletcher
Pencils: Bengal
Colors: Serge Lapointe

Batgirl, fighting tigers and saving lesbians – it’s all so refreshing. Thanks to some solid artwork in Babs Tarr’s absence, this entire issue played out like a cartoon. It’s a very serialized, feel-good story that isn’t too deep, but has enough substance to keep me entertained enough to look forward to the next issue. Batgirl is one of the better books out right now, but I don’t look to it for any deeper meaning. And why is DC sneak dissin’ with the Jungle Fever theme going on here on the cover? Luke isn’t in the book but two pages. Wesley Snipes should be pissed right now. – Sherif

Deathstroke #10 – C
Writers: Tony Daniel, James Bonny
Pencils: Tyler Kirkham
Colors: Arif Prianto

Um, I’m not sure what kinda reaction I was supposed to have to the end of this issue, but it ended up being one of pure MEH. What in the name of Fish Mooney were they trying to pull here? It took a lot to bring Slade back from the Expendables mangasming action hero to a well-rounded character, but all I could do is roll my eyes at how he returns to his brutish ways. I would be a liar if I told you that his showdown with a titan (ha, he finally beats a Titan…) wasn’t Kratos-worthy, but the ridiculous ending shattered all the momentum it had going into it. – Sherif

Justice League 3001 #4 – C
Writers: Keith Giffen and J.M. De Matteis
Artist: Scott Kolins
It’s fascinating that two of my books (two of my favorites even) were flashbacks this month. One did absolutely everything right (Nameless), and one did everything I hate. Usually flashbacks feel like they’re pulling you away from something really interesting to show you something boring, even when it’s important, and that’s what JL3K did. I mean, last issue, Supergirl shows up out of nowhere to help punch a hivemind into submission. Yes, yes, and more yes. This time, we flashback to between the events of 3000 and 3001 to Flash telling Wonder Woman a drunk story about meeting a cagey Mirror Master. I know this is J.M. DeMatteis laying the ground for the next arc, but nothing happens. We get one tiny nugget of fact, and it distracts from the awesome stuff that’s been going on. Plus, the regular artist was off this month. Kind of a bummer. -Montgomery

IDW Publishing:

TMNT: Casey and April #4-B
Writer: Mariko Tamaki
Artist: Irene Koh

The end of this mini-series brings some revelations and makes some characters thought to be villains out to be more of spiritual guides to Casey and April. As the two have been tormented by the Rat King for the first three issues, almost tearing the two apart, they finally reach Aka. She helps April realize her role in everything. It seems she may have quite a large role in TMNT #50 coming out soon and the huge change promised in said issue. This series definitely screams of Anime/Asian influence more than any others, especially in Irene Koh’s art and the story revolving around the Rat King and Aka being gods and spiritual guides to Casey and April. Mariko Tamaki did a great job setting up a small little road trip story where we hardly saw The Turtles and yet still making sure we knew it was in the TMNT universe. Overall, it was a very enjoyable series and stayed quite consistent in quality from issues #1-#4. – Jacob

Image Comics:

Nameless #5 – A
Writer: Grant Morrison
Artist: Chris Burnham

I have been going slowly insane waiting for the two month hiatus to end and Nameless to pick back up. It was so good and surreal, it gave me an anxiety attack. It opens up with a flashback to the nameless protagonist’s prior mission in which he and twelve others first tried to contact the alien force behind the mystery comet. And without ruining things (because holy bonkers Bat-Mite), it goes poorly, but not before they learn that this malevolent force is the last living vestige of an anti-universe. In fact, these 13 minds (apparently these anti-universe beings are so great, it takes 13 minds working in unison to contain one of their minds) learn a pretty shocking fact about who exactly is trapped in that meteor. And if the panel below (in the Panels with the Most Awesomeness section) doesn’t make you want to run out and have an anxiety attack, you have no heart (or too much anxiety). – Montgomery

Elephantmen #66- A-
Writer: Richard Starkings
Artist: Axel Medellin

Things are getting rather crazy for our favorite Elephantmen as we learn of a plot devised by those in Charge of Mappo to try and eradicate the current living Elephantmen and create a new army of Hyenas to bring about what Mappo had tried to do initially with his army of people such as Hip Flask, Ebony Hide, and Obadiah Horn. It seems as the initial attack of the Mops, the cleaning (Killing) crew of hyenas, shows up the Elephantmen on the side of good we know are dropping rather quickly and we are left wondering if some even got out alive. The story by Richard Starkings is great as always with this series, and it brings the action as well as story together beautifully. I also have to say Axel Medellin’s art is my favorite of the series so far, and the colors used are just spectacular making for one of the most well executed comics on the shelves today. – Jacob

Wolf #3—B
Writer: Alex Kot
Artist: Matt Taylor
Colorist: Clayton Cowles

This book is just odd and I love it. I still don’t have the language to really describe why I enjoy it so much week after week. I think it may have something to do with the fact that I’m actually picking up on the sarcasm. Granted, I’m a few beats behind, but it creates an interesting dissonance in the way I read it. Vamps in Afghanistan, and more genies information as to how Wolf became what he is. A vampire ex. Seems like Wolf dabbled in the darker things in life before turning private eye. He makes for one intriguing anti-hero. To say anymore would give too much away. -Jené

Invisible Republic #6 –C
Writers: Gabriel Hardman and Corinna Bechko
Artist: Gabriel Hardman
Colorist: Jordan Boyd

Not as dunt, dunt duh as last issue, but still a solid issue.  The issue slowed down in order do some much needed character development. It also introduced a few more key players to the narrative. We’re finally getting to see behind the mask of the Malory Regime. My previous thoughts has been confirmed—Malory “is more mascot than leader.” It’s still unclear to what extent Maia plays in this “Invisible Republic” but its clear her cousin is meaningless, or is he…? It was a solid and enjoyable read with a last page that delivers a punch. – Jené

Second Opinion (B+) Invisible Republic is keeping a strong story strong. The universe is as dark and gritty as ever, the thought put into building this world is enough by itself to make me a fan of this book. – Scott

Marvel/Icon Comics:

Deadpool vs Thanos #2-A
Writer: Tim Seeley
Artist: Elmo Bondoc

This issue is full of action, cameos from famous and not so famous Marvel characters and plenty of Deadpool humor, to the chagrin of Thanos. The story sees Deadpool and Thanos landing on a planet rumored to be where Death told Deadpool to go, but all that is there is a race of people wishing death upon themselves. After some rather violent introductions the Guardians of the Galaxy show up to cause yet another disturbance for this team of Death’s ex’s. Tim Seeley is doing a great job so far in bringing these two characters together and despite neither of them really liking the other they seem to work well together, well despite Thanos needing to beat the crap out of Deadpool every once and awhile to have him see Death or get clues to her disapearence. The best thing to me is Elmo Bondoc’s art which has a very classic Marvel feel to it while also keeping it in the modern era making for a great flashback story while also not straying too far from the current places of each character. – Jacob

Inhumans: Atillan Rising #5 – B
Writer: Charles Soule
Artist: John Timms
So, is this the last issue? Does anyone know? It feels like a last issue. Anyways, finally Not Black Bolt’s revolt crescendo’s in Medusa’s Atillan where, last issue, he showed her the truth of the world. They team up and (SPOILER ALERT, I MEAN, IF ANYONE’S ACTUALLY READING THIS COMIC, SPOILER ALERT RIGHT HERE) and Doom resets Atillan, except with Blackagar Boltagon (worst name ever? Probably) as the king and Medusa as a bar tender. Which is kind of cool. It imbues Battleworld with a sense of history is seems to lack, and demonstrates his own godhood. One question? Um, Matt? Murdock? He makes a reference to being Irish? Well, I’d like him to point out where on the map Ireland is, and what that even means on Battleworld. Because, as far as I’m aware, there’s New York, 15 different X-Men cities, and then zombies. No Ireland. Anyways, the series ended on probably its strongest note. -Montgomery

X-Men: Years of Future Past #5 – B-
Writer: Marguerite Bennett
Pencils: Mike Norton
Colors: FCO Plascencia

This book tries a little too hard to be deep. For being one of the throwaway Secret Wars titles, I’m really impressed with how much I seem to care about what is going on. After the world fell apart in the last issue, Christina Pryde must scramble to save Robert Kelly from her surprise dickhead brother. It’s one of those “the more things change, the more they stay the same” scenarios, and I really enjoyed the way this one was carried out. Now, them all getting eaten by tigers seems like a stupid ending, but who am I to judge? It’s a lot harder carrying an idea across the finish line than I can give credit for. – Sherif

1872 #3 – C+
Writer: Gerry Duggan
Pencils: Nik Virella
Colors: Lou Loughridge

I wouldn’t say I’m disappointed in this book, but rather disappointed in the lack of give-a-shit that Marvel had in making this a book. It’s a phenomenal concept – just as interesting as 1602, in my opinion – but it’s not really fleshed out like it could be. Fisk, the corrupt big bad, comes across so much more like a big, fat Yosemite Sam than the thuggish tycoon he is. All is forgiven, though, when Tony Stark busts out the Iron Man suit for the first time. It has it’s corny moments, but I wish it took it’s time. Instead, it’s stuffed into a four-issue mini-series and will likely have no consequence on the Marvel U at all. – Sherif


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.