Comic Book Reviews 09-24-14

Review Scale:

The mythical A+: Classic comic book material. Belongs next to your copy of The Notebook and The Joy of Cooking.

A: Would definitely recommend to all comic book readers. Even more so to fans of the genre or characters

B: Enjoyable read. Fans of the genre or characters will especially like.

C: Non-essential read. Can be enjoyable for fans of the genre or characters, but likely for only one or two events in the books.

D: Unenjoyable book. Read at your own risk. Might find satisfaction if major flaws are overlooked.

F: Please don’t buy this book. Donate your money to a local comic book writer’s workshop instead to inspire future generations to write something better than this trash.


Pick of the Week:

Saga #23
Saga #23 – A
(A) There’s something to be said about a book that, every month without fail, can take you to a happy place that would make Billy Madison jealous. Each episode of Saga is a beautifully crafted piece of fantasy that satisfies both my need for gratuitous language and violence, as well my deep desire for an inter-galactic love story full of adventure, betrayal and TVs having sex with each other. This issue specifically, is when everything changes. After Marko “f***ing assaults” Alana with vegetables in the previous issue, things spiral out of control for the couple, and somehow manage to get much, much worse. Please pick up this series and enjoy the crap out of it; you’ll thank me later. – Sherif
(A) Someone admitted to me this week that when a new issue of Saga is released they retreat to their bedroom (comic in hand), turn on a bit of mood lighting, strip down to their socks and underwear and proceed to bask in the gloriousness of what will be the best comic they will read all week long.  He called it “me time.”  I would have laughed at him, but truth be told… that’s how I read Saga too.  Don’t judge.  Vaughan and Staples are the best duo in the medium right now.  Everything about Saga is masterfully worked and presented.  As a reader I’m so invested in the characters (all of them), the plot, the setting (this is sci-fi done RIGHT), everything!  This series is oozing with unique creativity and use of the panel.  There’s very little not to love about Saga.  The only bad part is how weird and creepy I feel sitting there in my underwear once I’m done reading the issue. – Taylor

Other Reviews: 

Boom! Studios:

Lumberjanes #6 – B-

Oh my god the raccoon hat. It gets me every time. I want it drawn on a coffee mug and it to be in my possession. The Luberjanes just defeated raptors and are now playing capture the flag. But, what about the raptors and the three eyes foxes and the strange cave aren’t you going to ever tell me what the junk is going on?!?!?! And what’s up with Jo and her seeming mythicalness starting to come out.  Also, when can I get my own game of capture the flag started? Thankfully, more of the mythical plot was revealed this week and I am sated. – Jené

Dark Horse:

Aliens: Fire and Stone #1 – B

Dark Horse has really stepped up their game lately.  On the heels of Prometheus: Fire and Stone #1 comes Aliens: Fire and Stone.  These two series are woven directly into one another and so far it’s worked amazingly!  In fact, this premiere issue for Aliens: Fire and Stone is by itself nothing special.  But with the Prometheus: Fire and Stone story still fresh in my mind it enhanced my experience.  Prometheus’ vibe was very much like the beginning of any Alien movie – eerie, calm, and mysterious.  This Aliens series in contrast has started out like the end of any Alien movie – terrifying, frantic and intense.  The yin and yang balance of the Fire and Stone adventure is working very well so far and I can’t wait to see how these stories collide. – Taylor

Sundowners #2 – D

I learn something new every week in the midst of my comic book reading campaign.  This week’s lesson: intentionally confusing plot lines are only effective in issue #1.  I was hooked on Sundowners after reading the opening issue some weeks ago.  I wasn’t all that sure what was happening.  But with stored questions and curious ponderings I was very anxious to see what the follow up issue would deliver.  I’m saddened to say that this series appears to have taken a turn for the worst.  My initial questions were poorly addressed (if not skipped entirely) and the plot was further muddied.  A new character entered this week and all it did was distract me.  I wanted to learn more about the original cast; there is still so much to explore!  It was obvious to me that the characters were going to drive this story.  From what I got this week, I’m not so sure that’s where Sundowners is headed. – Taylor


Futures End: Superman #1 – A-
Finally, a Futures End worth reading! The one-shots from DC’s latest cash-grab mega-arc crossover thingy has been largely disappointing, with poor writing and even worse art. This little gem written by Dan Jurgens, though, blew away any expectations I had up to this point. The Haz-Mat Superman has been revealed, and the story behind his appearance, albeit unresolved, is a really cool idea. Like Batman, the world needs a Superman. Even if not Kal El, somebody with enough gusto to fill his shoes. But where in the world is Clark Kent? This same Superman has been all over the Futures End books, so look to see more of him soon enough. – Sherif
Batman Eternal #25 – B
Hush has finally declared open season on Batman, which means that this story looks like it’s finally heating up. There has been just too much going on in this book, but it looks like Eternalwill very much be a Batman vs. Hush story, and with writing input by Scott Snyder, I am thoroughly excited to see where this goes. The book is not without its transgressions, though, as the odd, uncharacteristic art detracts from the story going on around us. There are more findings that raise cause for question; for instance, is Alfred going to recover? How deep does the corruption go? Is Jim Gordon going to make it out unscathed? The fact that I care about any of this again means that Eternal has managed to recover (at least partially) of its earlier faults and found a little quality in spite of the quantity of books coming out. – Sherif
Future’s End: Aquaman and the Others #1 – B
This issue picks up where Future’s End: Aquaman left off. Vulko has brought back Atlan, the Dead King who sunk Atlantis, now he wants to sink Aquaman’s attempt at making peace with the surface, but first, he needs the Atlantean artifacts that he forged long ago. I enjoy Aquaman so these Future’s Ends with him have been enjoyable for me. Jurgens is a good story teller but his writing can be weak at points. If you’re a fan of Aquaman definitely give this a shot, but you may want to read the Aquaman Future’s End first. – Cody
Future’s End: Justice League Dark #1 – C-
This one started out alright, but really lost steam in the last few pages. It had some cool cosmic aspects to it, but once an outsider showed up it was rushed and just uninteresting. You’d think that with such a massive event that DC would have put more thought into these stories. Read it if you like JLD I guess, but, it’s really not anything special. – Cody
Future’s End: Harley Quinn #1 – D+
I can’t emphasize how dumb Harley Quinn is for always falling for The Joker.  But ultimately, I can’t blame her, I have to blame her writers.  They are treating her like she is Coney Island’s Carrie Bradshaw and Joker is Mr. BIg.  Harley’s 5 year fast forward puts her stranded on a beach of an island that looks like it is a characterization of South America.  She must meet the island’s god Tha’ Jo-kaa (wow, really?) and then they must get married.  The whole thing became Joker’s story and made Harley look like an idiot.  I am so tired of the Harley is dumb and loves Joker trope.  It’s about time they gave her something for readers to work with. – Adrian

IDW Comics:

Super Secret Crisis War #4- A

This issue really shows us what our childhood heroes are made of! On top of that there is a twist at the end that any one who knows my strong feelings about The Powerpuff Girls and Ed, Edd and Eddy will understand why I enjoyed it so much. With this series (and it may just be the child that won’t go away in me) every issue is wonderful, but I get upset every time I finish one because I know the event is closer to being over. This issue is an important one in the series because it shows our heroes finally figuring out each other and making a good team. On top of that, the villains are just down right horrible, and they make a “Death Stare” to destroy planets. It is a great story and besides the video game Cartoon Network Punch Time Explosion XL (which has a name equally as long and crazy as this series)  there has never been a better multi-cartoon crossover ever. – Jacob

Samurai Jack #12- B+

Jack has lost the power of his sword and now Aku has nothing to fear! We saw Jack’s sword destroyed in the last issue and now he has to deal with the fact Aku knows and will spare no cost at taking him out. I think this will definitely be the best arc this series has gotten yet. It offers so much more than the past stories have and so much more is at stake. This is part two of this story but it does give a good recap to help you understand what is happening. This issue could even be a good point to jump onto the story before it gets too involved. It is pretty hard to make Samurai Jack look bad, so the art of this series is always great, although I would like to see a more realistic or at least more detailed Samurai Jack issues at some point in the future. – Jacob

Star Trek #37- C+

This Issue of Star Trek definitely delivers the goods and so many great Trek characters from each series. We mainly see the cast of the new film series based off of the original series.  We also see a lot of Deep Space Nine with appearances by  Sisko, Odo, Quark, Dr. Bashir, Kira, and Worf. But what will keep any Star Trek fan interested is what Q has planned for their universe. – Jacob

G.I. Joe #1 – D-
Before I totally destroy this book, I want to preface it with the fact that I have never read a G.I. Joe anything, so maybe the books have just been this awful for the last 30 years and crappy writing is the status quo. If that slight was any indication, I hated this first issue. It had all the entertainment value of watching a fry-cook try to save the lastBennigan’s in town from closing. The only sliver of hope I have for this series is that there will eventually be explosions and stuff, but I can get that anywhere, really. G.I. Joe has failed to produce anything resembling substance, and instead gave us the inside scoop of what it’s like to sit through a military board meeting where absolutely nobody is having a good time – especially you.

Image Comics:

Roche Limit #1- B

(A) Roche Limit takes us to the farthest reaches of space, to a small colony built on the edge of an energy anomaly. Sadly, like many designed utopian societies in science fiction, this one has come to the wealth, the greedy, and the dangerous. The main story follows a woman looking for her sister who has disappeared and she falls into a sleazy societal underbelly in her search. Roche Limit is written by Michael Moreci with art from the fantastic Vic Malhorta. The first issue gives you just enough taste to keep you interested. This is a strong sci-fi noir with excellent visuals and a mysterious plot. Roche Limit is gritty, violent, and visceral. In a good way.  – Scott

(B) Yay, outer space!!  Double yay for a comic book story introducing a cool new fictional celestial body and crazy space drugs made from never before seen space minerals.  If that’s not enough to grab your attention then maybe the plot will snag you.  On the surface this is a story about a woman who has left earth, traveled across the galaxy to the human established colony, Roche Limit, to find her missing sister.  While the concept is basic, the setting will certainly compensate and work as an enhancement.  This story will drive the sci-fi theme and that’s a good thing.  Invest in the characters and their objectives and marvel in the awesome concepts accompanied with a new unexplored galactic frontier.  I have moon-sized expectations for this new Image series. – Taylor

(B+) Roche Limit is a colony on a planet located near a weak black hole. The dream of a billionaire who wanted a fresh start on society, but like always, it has failed, and Roche Limit is now a place of crime a depravity. When a girl goes missing, her sister travels to the colony and gets embroiled in it’s underworld. I’ve been reading a lot of these sci-fi/noir books lately and this was one of the more enjoyable ones I’ve read. It has an intelligent and mysterious anti-hero in Alex and the sister, who happens to be a cop on Earth, is also smart and rather fearless. The villain is mysterious and definitely is up to something strange. If you enjoyed Blade Runner, you’ll like this. – Cody

(C) I wanted to read this book because of the fancy science term title. I need more space travel stories in my life. But this isn’t really it. Instead, it’s a colony on the border of an anomaly and no space exploration to think of. Instead, the colony is more a city like Gotham where crime, drugs, scientific experiments run rampant.  So far I’m mixed. If the title has andy foreshadowing, the colony is eventually going to be swallowed up by the Roche Limit, the inevitable decay and destruction of a society and constructed colony. Maybe this book will be different and go another route. I’m still willing to give this book a shot. One thing that bothers me is that this kind of technological advancement is just too close to our current timeline. I really think writers should extend this kind of space exploration further into the future. Yes, we have made a lot of fast advancement, but we are still fairly far away from a lot of other stuff.  I like the environment the writer and artists are developing. I like the swirl of colors and the use of negative space within the book. It separates itself from the more visually cluttered books. – Jené

A Voice in the Dark #1- C

(B+) Most of the time I don’t know how to talk about art. This book’s art looks like watercolors, which I hear are really hard to work with. The way the colors blend in to one another, it has this odd mixture of grunge meets whimsical. Serial killer stories and crime procedurals are my guilty pleasures. I love how they have inverted the Dexter serial killer trope. The diary format in which the story unfolds is something I haven’t seen in a while. Right not I can’t recall a comic that’s done it that way. The only thing I have beef with is Rio’s genius as a killer. Seems a little tame to me. – Jené

(D-) I had not heard of the A Voice In The Dark series until it’s latest incarnation A Voice In The Dark: Get Your Gun, and now I know why. It’s pretty bland all the way through. The easiest way to describe this series is that it’s a bad version of the movie Mr. Brooks. If you don’t understand the reference, that’s ok, no one saw Mr. Brooks. Basically what’s going on here is the main character, Zoey, has compulsions to kill people. SPOILERS She fails to control these compulsions. The story is underdeveloped and the plot just isn’t all there for me. But seeing how Get Your Gun appears to be a small story arch in a slightly larger plot I’ll try not to judge the entire series on this arch. What I will judge the entire series on is its art. The characters are emotionless and shallow. At one point, one of the characters actually pointed out a hair lip he has to Zoey, and also to me, for the first time. This particular facial feature is even a major proponent to this characters actions and personality. But if the reader doesn’t even see it who cares?! With bland writing and dull art I can say that you can skip this one. – Scott

Wayward #2 – C
(B) Wayward #1 came across as an American version of Japanese anime about a girl with super parkour powers!  It was a bit whimsical and overall light hearted.  In a good and measured step Wayward #2 diminished those impressions and did a slight amount of maturing; which I felt was a good thing… mostly.  Adding to the first issue’s impression, it made me believe that this story will be more than your typical anime tale.  We were also introduced to a new character this week and I’m already a fan.  He too has weird and interesting powers.  Combo these powers with super parkour powers and we could all be in for a real treat.  And lastly, I’ve got to give it up to Steve Cummings for his artwork.  I’m in love with nuanced manga style pencil work.  Something about it keeps me staring at the page much longer than average.  I am a little bit sad though, that I didn’t get to see any more off-brand Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or magical cat ladies.  Maybe next issue. – Taylor
(D+) Like Buffy, my ass. Only two issues in and this book has already made my eyes roll, lips curl and eyebrows raise more than I would like them to. Rori, the half-Irish, half-Japanese girl who came to live with her mother, she discovers she has powers, which I can only deduce is some form of Spirit World parkour. The story has left me unimpressed, and the character even more unlikable after she takes a knife to herself to “make [her] mark and get through another day.” Some might find this relate-able but with absolutely no connection to the character or why she feels this is appropriate, it feels forced and insincere. All the promise of being anything mentioned in the same breath of BTVS is gone, and we’re in quite the uphill battle for this book to turn around in issue #3 that makes me want to read anything more. – Sherif


Deadpool #35- A-

After last week’s 90’s flashback, we jump back into the story with this issue. We have plenty of references to past stories including a very good bit about Deadpool’s friends from the Weapon X program in North Korea. I felt this issue was a great issue for Deadpool and actually a great jump on point in the series.  With this issue, we get Deadpool’s humor, drama, and a perfect mix of Deadpool being a merciless killer in epic battle. Overall this issue shows complete Deadpool picture. Definitely check this out if you are a fan or if you want to be introduced to the Merc with a Mouth. – Jacob

All-New Ghost Rider #7- B

This new Ghost Rider story has been rather crazy from the get-go but with the series ending soon (only 5 issues to go!) I am liking where it is going yat a little bit afraid. Don’t get me wrong, this is a great issue and it really shows the struggle between Robbie and his inner demon Eli, who makes him become Ghost Rider. With the new story arc starting last issue, we got a new art style for the series which I can’t say is really better than the previous five issues.  I have enjoyed it more as it is not as anime/cartoon looking. I would say try and pick up last months issue and make sure to read this because the Ghost Rider series is about to change drastically. – Jacob

Amazing Spider-Man #1.5 (Learning to Crawl) – B
Since the re-emergence of Peter Parker as Spidey just a few months ago, there’s been a lot of catch-up being played, causing things to get blurred and busy. Thankfully, the Learning to Crawl story was there to bring us back to why we give a damn about Peter Parker to begin with. The tale of Peter’s ascension to manhood was told as a modern-day origin story, and captured everything great we felt about our Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man. Sure, it came off as corny and a bit preachy, but that’s where its charm lay. Thanks to a vintage style art by Ramon Perez, the tone of Dan Slott’s story felt appropriate. You’re not missing anything if you skip this, but if you take the time to read this tweener, you’ll be happy you did. – Sherif

Storm #3 – B

Things for Storm came full circle this month; she went back home to Kenya and Forge just happened to be there.  While the story was pleasant, it was also simple.  Storm’s hometown, the one where she was a goddess, is experiencing drought.  She goes to save the day and meets up with Forge.  They argue like exes do, then they save the day…sort of.  I have always like Storm a lot; I find her one of the most intriguing X-Men, so I really like hearing about her origins.  I thought this book was a cool way to touch on it, but for people who are new to her story, could be confusing.  The most enjoyable piece of this issue was the art.  I was blown away at the use of color and how fantastic they made her power of controlling the weather seem. Simply beautiful – Adrian
Guardians of the Galaxy #19 – B
(A) We continue the story of how Star-Lord, Nova, Drax, and Thanos escaped from the Cancerverse, a horrible version of our universe that holds some rather strange surprises. I have very much enjoyed this little side story and love seeing these four interact with each other. Richard Rider is a WAY better Nova than this stupid kid they have now, and it is a lot of fun to watch him interact with Quill. Drax has a couple great moments and even Thanos gets some pretty fantastic panels. Can’t wait to see where Bendis takes us next. -Cody
(C+) The Original Sin spin-off for GOTG has been fun. And that’s about all it needs to be. The Guardians are relatively unknown throughout the Marvel U, and with the exposure of the movie, have been afforded the opportunity to explore more into their lore. This serial has revolved around Star-Lord explaining to Gamora how he, Nova, Drax and Thanos had found themselves in the Cancerverse. There’s not a whole lot you have to get; yes, everything is as crazy as it sounds. It may be pointless and confusing, but it’s still a thoroughly fun ride, and it makes you peeved that Nova never made it into the movie, because the two have great chemistry. There are definitely better choices you can make with your purchase, but this one is guaranteed good for a few smirks. – Sherif
Magneto #10 – B-
I hope you are in the mood for some vintage red and purple, because this issue is a long trip down memory lane for Magneto – a not so pleasant trip. Red Skull, who has acquired a sliver of Charles Xavier’s powers (Uncanny Avengers storyline that makes no sense but whatever) leaves his Nazi lackey and what seems to be a poorly design Ninja Turtle to torture Magneto. A lot of the issue involves Magneto realizing the failure of his attempts to save… well, anybody. It’s all quite introspective, showing the vulnerability of Magneto while still displaying his strength of resolve. Still, there’s not a whole lot of forward progress, as has been my only gripe on the series thus far. – Sherif
Edge of Spider-Verse #3 – C
(C) The Edge of Spider-Verse has been great so far, but it seems to have fallen flat. Upon first glance, it seemed as though we were getting a Mega-Man version of the web-crawler. To an extent, we were correct. There are a few really interesting panels detailing the gadgetry in his suit, but I wish I was more drawn to the man in the suit. Aaron Aikman is boring, like the Spider-Man version of John Lennon. He even had his own Yoko Ono that managed to screw things up for everybody. The fact that I didn’t enjoy this issue wasn’t for lack of trying; I loved Dustin Weaver’s pencils (who also wrote this issue) and thought the character design and science behind it was really neat, but Aikman himself did not have the personality necessary to wield the title of Spider-Man. – Sherif
(C) Imagine if Iron Man and Spider-Man did a Dragon Ball Z style fusion.  Fuuu-sion-HAA!!  Edge of the Spider-Verse #3 gives us a glimpse of what that might look like.  Truthfully – not as awesome as I thought.  The Spider gear is off the hook and looks pretty sweet.  But anyone in the world can tell you that Spidey’s claim to fame isn’t in the gadgets, gear or suit.  It’s in the man!!  The man in Edge of Spider-Verse #3, Aaron Aikman, falls short.  Nothing was truly bad, but nothing was really great either.  With one exception – Naamurah.  I was quite taken with the bad buy in this issue of Edge.  In appearance, backstory and purpose Naamurah rocks it!  Upon reflection this third issue of Edge is totally a bad guy story.  There’s hints at Naamurah rolling over into the big Spider-Verse event and I’m crossing my fingers that it happens.  I might actually be rooting for this bad-girl as opposed to robo-Spidey. – Taylor

Funniest Panel:

Saga #23
Saga #23


Panel with the Most Awesomeness:

Storm #3


That about wraps it up for our reviews this week! Look for next week’s previews coming soon. Any comic books you didn’t see reviewed that you want reviewed? Any grades you didn’t agree on? Let us know in the comments!

All images taken from ComiXology app and the credit for them goes to the respective publishers; thanks to IDW Comics, image Comics, Dark Horse, Boom! Studios, Dynamite Entertainment, DC and Marvel for putting out great books.