Comic Book Reviews 11-04-15

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:

howard the duck 1 RTJ

Howard the Duck #1 – A
Writer: Chip Zdarsky
Artist: Joe Quinones

Like always, Howard the Duck ends up being my favorite comic of the week and so much of this is due to my past love of the character, but much of my love for this new and the pre-Secret Wars series are due to Chip Zdarsky’s fantastic writing! It is such a great mix of classic and modern Howard that it melds together better than peanut butter and jelly. This story seems to take place not that far after the events before Secret Wars, but Howard is still depressed and feeling out of place. Despite having his new Skrull friend Tara Tam and Aunt May starting work at his office, Howard still wants to get home to Duckworld, despite hating it there. So Howard and Tara take a trip to ease his stress, only to find out that is was a ruse from Howard to try and find a portal into the nexus of all realties, with help from his old friend Man-Thing. But Man-Thing is busy with the Howling Commandos of Shield, so Howard is left with a couple villains trying to use the portal and ends up in yet another stressful interaction for our duck detective. Also, Gwenpool WTF?!?! – Jacob

Second Opinion (A)Anyone else feel a little uncomfortable with how hot septuagenarian Aunt May is? It’s making me question myself. Seriously though, I really love this duck. – Montgomery

Other Reviews: 

BOOM! Studios:

Klaus #1 – A
Writer: Grant Morrison
Artist: Dan Mora

It’s really hard to not give a Morrison comic an A+ on merit alone. But this book exemplifies why I hate the most commercial aspects of Christmas: the tradition handed down to us from, literally, Woolworth’s is garbage. All the stories are insipid, and the lesson of all of them is that desire is the kindling of magic. This Klaus, however, is awesome in a way our chubby fat guy in a red suit never is. Klaus is a wanderer outside of some place very Germanic and very frozen. He wanders into the wrong town (which used to be the right town) and is kicked out and nearly hunted. The town is run by a despotic and despondent family who, because of desire, have lost all sense of life. There isn’t much exploration of Klaus as a character in this first issue, but an image painted of what kind of world needs a Santa in the first place. This Santa’s pretty metal, and a little psychedelic. – Montgomery

Second Opinion (B)I’ll tread carefully for fear of coal in my stocking, but the book needs to do a better job of merging silly tone with extra-violent theme to really get on my Nice list. The art, though, is freaking incredible. – Sherif

DC/Vertigo Comics:

Justice League Darkseid Wars – Flash #1 – D
Writer: Rob Williams
Artist: Jesus Merino

Man, DC Comics is feeling like a lame college party trying to compete with a new fraternity rush. They are completely being outdone by Marvel in every way. Even the Darkseid Wars, which is one of DC’s strongest arcs right now, is being watered down by the multiple spin-off titles. Batman’s spotlight last week wasn’t bad, but this one was just awful. Barry’s obsession with saving everyone has forced him into a stand-off with Death. Sloppy art and a few “profound” moments later, and you’ve successfully wasted $4. – Sherif

Justice League Darkseid Wars – Superman #1 – F-
Writer: Francis Manapul
Artist: Bong Dazo

I wish I could truly tell the world how much I hate this issue. We get it – dickhead Superman is not relatable. He’s also a douchebag who yells at the waiter for not getting his apple pie in 3 panels. It’s basically a superlative for every stereotype we’ve ever thrown at DC for the Man of Steel. Super seriously, it’s something not even Mad magazine would wipe their ass with. You should be fucking ashamed of yourself, DC. – Sherif

Dynamite Entertainment:

James Bond #1 – B-
Writer: Warren Ellis
Artist: Jason Masters

This was a pretty quick read because there were no words for the first seven pages. Which is a little odd. However, I just finished watching Spectre, and this was a decent read in comparison. I like a story where drugs are considered bad, and this let’s us know from the get-go that we dealing with some bad people. It’s hard to tell how well this story will unfold, but for now, it was a decent first issue. – Adrian

Second Opinion (C+): I liked this iteration of James Bond. I especially like the parts with no words and lots of killing. – Sherif

IDW Publishing:

Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye #46 – B+
Writer: James Roberts
Artist: Alex Milne

When I saw Grimlock on the cover, I peed a little. TF:MTMTE has excelled at playing its cards close to its chest, and playing a long game. I think it’s been at least two years since we last saw Grim. Fort Max is sailing the universe rounding up former Decepticon fugitives guilty of selling Cybertronian technology. He runs across The Scavengers, a team of well meaning and mostly harmless Decepticons, who have been unknowingly been involved in a sort of robot trafficking scam. They’ve also been taking care of Grimlock who, the last time we saw him, was wondering aimlessly with seemingly no thoughts in his head. The story isn’t particularly ground breaking, and his return isn’t quite a world breaking fireworks show (nor is it a full return yet, from what we can see), but the whole comic was a sweet character study of some pretty minor characters. – Montgomery

Image Comics:

Monstress #1 – A
Writer: Marjorie Liu
Artist: Sana Takeda

Damn. One amazing start to a new story. This creative team is a force not to be reckoned with. To be honest this was the first time I’ve heard of Liu, but after looking her up she has quite the resume on her.  She’s worked on Astonishing X-Men and Black Widow. At the end of the comic Liu says she got the inspiration for this comic from this stories her grandparents told about horrors they experienced during World War II. She wanted to write a story about survival, racial hatred, and the concept of fighting something monstrous. I really loved the fact that this was 75 pages instead of the usual 15-25. I don’t think I could have handled this same story taking three week to get to.  Maika the main character of the story and are is too good for that. Yes, let me wax poetic about the art. It is come of the most beautiful and intricate stuff I have seen in a long time. I found myself getting lost/wondering in the panels longer than I do with most comic books. It really begs you to sit with it longer. The narrative also treats you like you’re part of the world and doesn’t give you any heavy exposition. You’re exploring the world as the characters move though the plot. Creep factor that still makes me squirm: the witches of this series literally cut the Arcaics into chucks and eat them in order to absorb their power. So very gross, but also interesting in terms of creating a certain type of magical system. I highly recommended that people read this story. I don’t think many will be disappointed in what is all trying to be accomplished here. – Jené

Elephantmen #67 – A-
Richard Starkings
Artist: Axel Medellin

For Walking Dead fans, I compare this issue a lot to this last week’s episode with Morgan and his Yoda-esque idol Eastman; I am left wondering much like with Glenn, and similarly, I am wondering what happened to Ebony in Elephantmen. This issue, although just as action-packed, gives us little hope for Ebony and even makes us even more terrified of his outcome in seeing one of those damn alligators dragging him and biting his leg before going back to the action with the main crew for this story. Despite the action continuing and all the Elephantmen and their friends being in terrible danger at the start of this issue, we get to see a great flashback with Trench and how he actually saved Agathe years back, which must be pretty damning realizing how many Elephantmen he killed after that day. We leave this issue with just as much anticipation as the last ,wanting to know more now and making sure our heroes are fine… At least in the month until we find out what happens next we will likely find out about Glenn on The Walking Dead. – Jacob

Axcend #2 – B
Writer: Shane Davis
Artist: Michelle Delecki
Colorist: Morry Hollowell

In the last issue the in game betas started to show up in real life, which also includes the special in game powers. At the start of this issue we are introduced to the real life persona of Rayne. In this case she is a famous pop-singer gamer also called Rain. Rain is that pop star that tabloids love. She’s big on sex, drugs, and drinking. She’s also a world class gamer. She pulls Dog out of the game and they track down Morn and now they are teaming up to stop Ruin before he gets his beta. Ruin is sort of an unstoppable killing machine so it would be in everyone’s best interest if he was stopped. Maybe next issue. – Scott

Paper Girls #2 – B
Writer: Rick Remender
Artist: Cliff Chiang

I like how little dialogue there is in this book. The art and colors are still really mesmerizing to me, which helps me read it quickly. I have more questions than answers this time. Is it demons? Time-travelers? Aliens? The Japanese? I don’t know, but I look forward to finding out. Also, I hope the cool girl isn’t really dead. – Adrian

Second Opinion (C): Just because no Remender book can be normal reading, Paper Girls gets way to convoluted way too quickly. Hopefully Remender can help guide readers to the actual story sooner than later. – Sherif

Nailbiter #17 – C
Writer: Joshua Williamson
Artist: Mike Henderson

That was disappointing. I still love this series, but what a bunch of filler. There was nothing that was memorable. The most important players in this issue have had little to no time in the series before, so any revelations that were to be had seemed minuscule to the audience. Better luck next time, I suppose. – Adrian

Second Opinion (B-)Don’t get me wrong, I still very much enjoy Nailbiter but at this point it feels like they are building up so much intrigue, and so much mystery that there is no way the actual climax will live up to its own hype. I’m really into the new story lines outside of Buckaroo at this point, but I can’t shake the feeling that even after all these issues we all haven’t accomplished much. – Keriann

We Stand on Guard #5 – C
Writer: Brian K. Vaughan
Artist: Steve Skroce

Call me bitter, but I got really bummed when I found out this would be a six-part mini-series instead of an on-going tale. All the momentum and excitement I felt I’d have for years is now going to be boiled down into one final issue, and for that to be the case, I was largely underwhelmed. Turns out that Amber’s brother is still alive, in some weird prison with Chief McFadden. There are some interesting moving parts in the story, but it doesn’t feel much like a climax is building. Vaughan is now killing characters at will now to help wrap things up. I’m just really disappointed – for a minute there, I almost really liked Canadians. – Sherif

Marvel/Icon Comics:

Invincible Iron Man #3 – A
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: David Marquez
Colorist: Justin Ponsor

I love everything about this book. I’m ready to let go of all inhibitions and just be an Iron Man fan. Bendis has made this book hilarious but action-packed, the tech upgrades are subtle yet impressive, and the art, holy cow, the art is spectacular. This is by far my favorite book of the All-New All-Different launch, and mostly because it keeps me dying of laughter while actually having a story to tell. Some books fail by being so funny they don’t think there needs to be a story, or taking themselves so seriously that they have been pigeon-holed into not being relatable. This is a complete 180 from the a-hole Tony Stark in Superior Iron Man, and I am loving it. – Sherif

Second Opinion (B+)The art is still off the wall. The “rude” retorts are hilarious. And it is good to note to say “Hail Hydra” to anyone if you want to date them, just to make sure. You never know. – Adrian

Star Wars #11 – A
Writer: Jason Aaron
Artist: Stuart Immonen
Inker: Wade Von Grawbadger
Colorist: Justin Ponsor

The was full of actiony goodness. There was excellent pacing between the three story lines happening at once. It didn’t feel clunky going from storyline to storyline. Watching Chewbacca fight Dengar was pretty sweet. I like these look-ins on these lesser known characters. Luke is busy fighting a giant beast that regularly eats lava monsters, so that’s no good. We finally got the story on the whole Mrs. Solo thing, to so surprise it was a way to con someone. My favorite bit came at the end though when we got Han being Han. – Scott

Doctor Strange #2 – B+
Writer: Jason Aaron
Artist: Chris Bachalo

There seems to be a pattern with these new Marvel books of using a two issue arc to tease at a larger narrative. It’s not bad, but it makes the introduction to these “new” (new like the 60s) worlds seem a little shallow. The librarian with the maggot cursed brain continues receiving help from Strange (spoiler: she gets better). Strange’s magic goes wonky. In a serious missed opportunity, she wanders into a room in Strange’s house that leads to a wasteland paved in bones roamed by the walking dead. I want to go into THAT world! I think the problem with this story and the Vision story is half the world is populated by characters we don’t really have much reason to care about (the librarian isn’t a very gripping character, especially given who Strange drinks with) and making them the focus. Whatever. I’m old and nearly dead. These are comics for Dora-the-Explorer hologram children. I can read it or lie in the street and wait for nature to reclaim my corpse. Note: not actually nearly dead. – Montgomery.

Extraordinary X-Men #1 – B+
Writer: Jeff Lemire
Artist: Humberto Ramos
Colorist: Edgar Delgado

What Jeff Lemire does best is taking something that’s been convoluted and over-complicated, and making it feel organic; he did it with Green Arrow, and Justice League Dark, and here again with Extraordinary X-Men. There are some gaps in time that beg some explaining to new readers, but it’s a wonderful transition from the last All-New X-Men canon. Not only is Old Man Logan joining the fold, but Illyana (one of my favorite X-Men who never gets any shine) and Piotr are back. The mutant “situation” is worse than ever, with mutants being hunted down like animals, and the Terrigen Mists eliminating the possibility of new mutants sprouting up. It’s X-Men at its roots, something that I am completely behind. – Sherif

Deadpool #1 – B+
Gerry Duggan
Artist: Mike Hawthorne, Terry Pallot, Val Staples

This issue starts off in a grand Deadpool fashion with craziness abound. Just like most post-Secret Wars titles, there isn’t much explanation offered as to how things got to where they are. Despite being all over the place, and having TONS of Deadpools, it was very well done, and even ties into the Uncanny Avengers title a little bit, which will help explain how Deadpool is an Avenger now and why and how he is helping fund the Avengers. Gerry Duggan comes back as writer in a grand Deadpool fashion: plenty of laughs, confusion, and bloody action. It also has plenty of nods to Deadpool’s pre-Secret Wars life with glimpses of Shikla, Adsit, and Preston, but not enough to know how they are or why Adsit has a huge beard. Mike Hawthorne’s pencils and Terry Pallot’s inks are fantastic for this issue and give me lot of hope for Deadpool art in the coming future, and Val Staples colors complete the trifecta of art into near Perfect Deadpool fashion. – Jacob

Drax #1 – B-
CM Punk, Cullen Bunn
Artist: Scott Hepburn, Matt Milla

Drax finally has his own modern series where we see his adventures outside the Guardians, but it proves to be a little lackluster when compared to Rocket and Groot’s solo adventures. I am sure in time this story will flourish and my negativity may just come from the fact I enjoyed/ am enjoying Rocket and Groot’s solo adventures (even if the other is in each others stories). This story worried me from the start though because the modern take on Drax has a very dry sense of humor to it while also having the potential to be extremely violent, very much on the same side as Deadpool, but at least Deadpool knows he is and tries to be funny where Drax is funny by just being dead serious. I do have to say CM Punk (with Cullen Bunn) had a great story here for his debut with his full series for Marvel and can only see him improving which gives me a lot of hope for the future of the series. Scott Hepburn and Matt Milla’s art is a spectacular mix of near surrealism and realism mixed into comic book fashion. Definitely a style I am totally down with. – Jacob

Nova #1 – C+
Writer: Sean Ryan
Arist: Cory Smith

Ugh. I hate kid heroes. “How’m I going to balance school work and killing giant lizards? What if Lizzie won’t go to the prom with me? Oh no! All my acne ruptured inside this helmet!” Dumb. What’s with all these “stay in school kids!” messages in all the Marvel books I’ve read this week? This book wasn’t terrible, but I feel like it’s a waste of time to pick up a book about one of Marvel’s cosmic heroes and have half the book be about seeing a movie with your buds and passing an English test. I mean, seriously, I’ve got another five paragraphs in me about this topic. It’s the same reason I hated Sesame Street as a kid: if I wanted to see regular sauce humans stumbling around being horrible and stupid, I’d just pay attention to the noxious swarm buzzing around me 24/7. When I pick up a book called NOVA about space cops, I expect to see some space action, not literally rescuing cats from burning houses. Spider-Man can handle that. I mean, also regular people can handle that. Like I said, the comic isn’t horrible, but if I don’t get equal parts space adventure in my space comic, I couldn’t care less about a hero’s personal life. – Montgomery

Vision #1 – C
Writer: Tom King
Artist: Gabriel Hernandez Walta

Vision is one of those characters whom I really love and identify with, but for whom finding a good story seems impossible. Since the new Marvel turned things around with Doc Strange, I had hopes for Vision. But I was kind of let down. The premise is that the Vision has made a family for himself and wants to live as normal a life as the thinking feeling son of Ultron can (so, that’s the origin we’re sticking with?). He has a wife, a son, and a daughter. The book has a cool premise, but it spends so much time trying to be literary in that way that screams “THIS IS WHAT SITCOMS THINKS WRITERS DO” that nothing really seems to happen. I mean, it wasn’t terrible, but, look: Because, yeah: nothing screams well adjusted like high schoolers. Maybe the point is that Vision isn’t as intelligent as he thinks he is, but things like this smack more of lazy writing, or perhaps some kind “let’s get the kids reading the comic books” PR initiative, than something the Vision might actually do. I feel 100% convinced that someone as smart as him would watch TV for 15 minutes and, correctly, conclude, “Oh, for sure, school is the last place I want to to send a person I have any hope of being balanced. And then they all get murdered. But probably not. – Montgomery


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.

Comic Book Reviews 10-28-15

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:

rumble 8 POTWRumble #8 – A
Writers: John Arcudi, James Harren
Artist: Dave Stewart

Things have calmed down since the first appearance of Rathraq but on Halloween Night he’s back, sword swinging. Bobby seems like he might have a normal life, but we all knew that wouldn’t last. In this issue he’s Good Guy Bobby helping two kids find their mom. I really like how Del has become his own character, always brave although maybe not the smartest guy. Of course Bobby isn’t going to go back to a normal life and it’s Halloween so why wouldn’t a new adventure start that night? This issue was a lot like the very first one. By that I mean it seems like a normal day and Rathraq’s appearance is very sudden. If you haven’t read the story previously you could actually jump in now without too much of a problem. This is a great book for Halloween. – Scott

Other Reviews: 

BOOM! Studios:

Adventure Time 2015 Spooktacular – A
Writer & Artist: Hanna K.

The stories about Marceline and Simon way back in time just following the Mushroom War are some of the most somber and gratifying. I think it was actually a Simon/Marceline flashback in the cartoon that keyed me into Adventure Time’s zany dynamic. In the Spooktacular, Marceline’s mostly grown up wandering the wasteland with her dog after Simon has gone full Ice King and abandoned them. This story doesn’t do much to clear up any of the mythology’s (large) dark and unknown spaces – we still don’t understand how Marceline got the way she is or where she is – but it’s a pretty somber and intimate look at the world post-Mushroom War. Marceline treks the waste and finds a settlement of humans living in fear of vampires. She goes hunting and vows to outlive all of them. So Marcy’s for sure not a vampire. I love the art in these Adventure Time comics. It bends my brain a little bit that a cartoon based on such a simple art style could be the progenitor of such lush and complex themes and representations. – Montgomery

Dark Horse Comics:

Hellboy and the B.P.R.D.: 1953-The Phantom Hand & the Kelpie #1 A
Writer: Mike Mignola
Artist: Ben Stenbeck

Much like the Adventure Time Spooktacular, B.P.R.D. and Hellboy side stories are almost always gratifying; they might not progress the mythology or central story, but they give the world real weight. Of the two stories here, “The Phantom Hand” is definitely the superior. In 1953, Hellboy and his adopted father, Trevor Brutenholm, along with a local occultist travel to London to investigate reports of a murderous ghostly hand. They find the hand and discover it’s the hand of a child murderer who claims the devil made him do it. Turns out he wasn’t lying; his hand was possessed by a large and powerful demon. Hellboy engages in fisticuffs and manages to beat him back with a surprising object. The real hook of the story, however, is when Trevor remarks on Hellboy’s power and potential, and how he seems to have natural ability, where others fail, to eliminate these threats and literally change the atmosphere. It’s actually quite moving. – Montgomery

DC/Vertigo Comics:

Justice League 3001 #5 – B+
Writer: J.M. DeMatteis, Keith Giffen
Artist: Howard Porter

I still love this book. This particular issue felt more like a holding pattern than it did progress, but it was a marked improvement over the last issue. One of the Starro horde now lives with Green Lantern in order to learn about and perhaps to come to accept the League. Green Lantern is having weird lapses in memory that just may be her hose DNA trying to crawl back to the surface of memory. Meanwhile, Batman and Supergirl (god Supergirl is so badass in this book) are hunting an impostor Batman on the prison world, and Lois Lane’s robot slips to Superman about her plan. I guess a lot of story did get progressed. It’s just that this issue is busy setting so much stuff up that it felt like no one thing in particular happened to make this issue memorable. But that impostor Batman? Stylish. – Montgomery

Prez #5 – B
Writer: Mark Russell
Artist: Ben Caldwell

What would happen if America apologized for all of our crimes? Well, it turns out, that is a tough question to answer. Either way, it made for a pretty interesting story line. But what was best about this month’s Prez was that War Beast escaped Guantanamo Bay, and then headed to a church group. It was so hilarious I spit out my coffee. Make sure to scroll for our funniest panels to catch the zinger of all from this issue. – Adrian

Justice League Darkseid Wars: Batman #1 – B-
Writer: Peter Tomasi
Artist: Fernando Pasarin

First of all, let me just say that Batman looks utterly ridiculous rolling around Gotham in a giant Tron chair. The gist of this issue is that Batman is now going through Gotham with his all-knowing super chair and stopping all the crime before it happens – and he’s being kind of a dick about it. It’s all very reminiscent of Superman/Batman #53 where the two switch powers. It’s kinda corny, especially when “it gets personal.” However, the issue ends on an exciting note when Chair Batman is looking to take on The Joker again. I’m curious what kind of continuity is taking effect in Justice League since it clearly isn’t in line with Batman. – Sherif

We Are Robin #5 – B-
Writer: Lee Bermejo
Artist: Jorge Corona
This book is still really interesting to me, but this issue was a little blasé. We did find out more about Izzy and her background. The crew was then sent to find out more about the nest. There are so many unanswered questions still. I do think this was a bit of a filler issue, but I’m okay with that. There is enough mystery here to keep me going. This is one of the best DC book out right now! – Adrian

Batgirl #45 – C
Writers: Cameron Stewart, Brendan Fletcher
Artist: Babs Tarr
Colorist: Serge Lapointe

The wedding is finally upon us, and as always, Barbara finds herself pulled away at the last moment. Dick Grayson makes an impromptu appearance for… seemingly no reason at all other than to bug her. Everybody loved Grayson before the elaborate death faking incident, but now he just seems to be hanging around town like the cool guy from high school who can’t move on. For Babs, though, there is a huge growth moment for her where she pretty much tells Dick that she’s moved on and that he shouldn’t hold her back anymore. It’s quaint, but there isn’t much else to lean on as far as the book goes. – Sherif

Art Opts #1 – C
Writer: Shaun Simon
Artist: Mike Allred

So… art is alive. There’s a secret organization that helps paintings/art wondering around the streets. There’s a man with an artsy squiggly hand and shadows that are alive that can rip off arms. A masked vigilante whose mere presences makes people sick and helps works of art in the whiteness protection system and some sort of evil trying to destroy art. Yup, that’s pretty much everything going on in this comic. I think it poses an interesting exploration into the whole concept of life imitating art/art imitating life sort of kit and caboodle. It’s a very strange and disjointed narrative that’s aim is more philosophy than story, but interesting none-the-less. I’m not sure if it’s something that I’ll be able to keep up with but it has my attention for now. – Jené

Second Opinion (D): While the art was crisp (and it better have been, it’s a book about art), the dialogue was often cheesy. It was almost as if the characters weren’t really supposed to have dialogue, but should have been thinking something to themselves. Instead, it came off as trite. And none of the characters were likable, so that didn’t help either. – Adrian

IDW Publishing:

Transformers Redemption #1 – A
Writer: John Barber
Artist: Livio Ramondelli

I think the this month’s theme for me might be “side stories.” I feel like almost every book I’ve reviewed thus far has been a side story. In Redemption, the four remaining Dinobots struggle for purpose in the wake of armistice and their missing leader, Grimlock (I think we saw him once maybe 30 issues ago, suffering from amnesia and discovered by the hardcore Decepticon group? But not since?), and struggling to keep Slug’s restlessness and rage from pulling them down. Sludge is the triceratops in case you didn’t know (which you almost certainly didn’t). Believing their purpose is to do the dirty stuff for the good guys, they take a shadowy mission from a couple Camiens and one of Starscream’s secret police. It’s a pretty cool story with some interesting twists and very cool noir like narration that doesn’t feel canned like a lot of superhero narration. By the end of the book, the Dinobots end up adding a member to their group (but not who you think). Much like the Hellboy side stories, I love when the writers of the TF books slow things down to really focus on a neglected group or group and imbue them with character. But I can’t help but wonder when Grimlock’s coming back. – Montgomery

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #51 – C
Writers: Tom Waltz, Bobby Curnow, Kevin Eastman
Artist: Ken Garing

The all-new saga of TMNT begins after a magnanimous ending to issue #50 left Splinter “honor-bound” to The Foot. After one issue, I am not impressed. The new art from Ken Garing is actually more on par with the original gritty Eastman work, but it doesn’t look as polished and appropriate as Santolouco’s pencils did. Plus, Raphael is just about as into this Foot thing as I am, and Mikey on his own is a sad sight. The reign of The Foot may be over before it begins, and there are several new players about to create waves. It’ll be interesting to see what happens from here, but this issue gets a big “meh” from me. – Sherif

Second Opinion (A-)This issue may just not be up to par for me because of the insanity that was issue #50 but it still was my favorite of the week. I can not wait to see where Michelangelo’s story arc here begins to go!

Image Comics:

ODY-C #8 – A
Writer: Matt Fraction
Artist: Christian Ward

I can’t believe this is only issue 8. I feel like I’ve been reading this series since I was in high school, or something. And, finally, on the 8th issue, I’ve discovered the secret to reading the comic, and it’s the same advice one of my favorite professors gave me: read it out loud. I read it out loud, and for the first time in months, I feel like I have a grip on the story. Now that we’re in the Arabian Nights arc (of which I know nothing, so I’m picking up almost none of the references), this one follows two brothers confined to a kingdom of their making. Their lovers leave and get involved with each other, so the brothers murder everyone. It was nice to feel like I had any sense of what was going on. And Christian Ward continues to deliver the best visuals in current comics. I don’t want to spoil what’s happening in this picture, but that’s an entire country built out of the bones of a single person. So, y’know… hobbies? I guess? – Montgomery

Black Magick #1—B
Writer: Greg Rucka
Artist: Nicola Scott
Colorist: Chiara Arena

As first issues are concerned, I’m extremely excited about this series. It’s the first time in forever that a witch has been painted in a light that’s not some evil spawn of the devil. Anything that connects to the Salam Witch Trails has my attention. I guess having an ancestor hang for witchcraft will do that to a woman. So far the story is mystical yet realistic and pulls you in right away. At first I thought it might be something akin to Witchblade. It’s not. It’s way better than then that. And the art is fracking spectacular. Breathtaking even. The sort of noir art style is amazing. And the one color page that highlights Rowen’s powers shows the power that the artist is leaning to the narrative. All in all I’m really excited to continue reading this comic book. – Jené

Marvel/Icon Comics:

Howling Commandos of S.H.I.E.L.D. #1 – B+
Writer: Frank J. Barbiere
Artist: Brent Schoonover

I have to be honest and say I have no idea what I just read here and how it fits together, but despite that fact I thoroughly enjoyed every second of it. Since the Howling Commando’s made of monsters appeared in the Secret Wars Mrs. Deadpool and the Howling Commandos series, I was hoping we would get some variation of that team. As a monster fan , and a big fan of the character Man-Thing, this series seemed right up my alley and I have to say, despite being majorly confused at how things got to where they are in this issue I found it to be everything I wanted from this series within this first issue even with the robotic Dum Dum Dugan. I have complete faith in Frank J Barbiere’s writing after this issue and expect much more explanation as the series goes on. Brent Schoonover does a spectacular job on the art mixing all these different monsters together from the incredibly bad ass  Hit-Monkey to the rather dumb Zombie Jasper Sitwell., Definitely a great series to sart so close to Halloween! – Jacob

The New Avengers #2 – B+
Writer: Al Ewing
Artist: Gerardo Sandoval

I missed the first issue of this, which is a shame because the first issue might have been an A+. This issue was still pretty good though. The only minus (which seems pretty significant, hence the drop of a whole letter grade) is that the crystal headed guys are actually NBD if you just scream right. Way to deflate all the tension. Also, how does Squirrel Girl beat up a sub-hulk exactly? At any rate, the Avengers post-Secret Wars, as I’ve commented elsewhere, has a very Grant Morrison feel. I kind of wish maybe Grant Morrison would be allowed to do for Marvel what he does for DC, like, twice a week. Those Lie Minus crystal headed guys seem ripped right out of Doom Patrol. And the concept of Life Minus seems ripped right out of Kirby’s Fourth World and the bulk of Morrison’s DC work, which centers around the anti-life equation and universal conquest. But the Ultimate universe Reed, called the Maker, who is totally bonkers, is the guy behind it all. I’m a little exasperated that we’re only two issues into the all new all different Marvel universe, and Maker is already talking about other universes. What was the point of the last year, Marvel? What? Was? The? Point? Anyways, the demon he conjures is pretty badass, and Morrison as anything that’s Morrisoned a Morrison. – Montgomery

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #1 – B+
Writer: Ryan North
Artist: Erica Henderson
I was worried this book might lose some of its allure since it is the second reboot in only a year. I was proven wrong, and I love when that happens! The new series starts in Doreen’s sophomore year at Empire State. She and Nancy have a place together, and the whole team seems closer than ever. There are some allusions to Doreen’s place in the New Avengers, and there are lots of good jokes surrounding that. Doreen’s number one fan came to town, a.k.a. her mom. There was a lot of play with just how embarrassing but also awesome moms can be. I thought the “bad guy” was a little silly, but I am still happy that Squirrel Girl is around. – Adrian

Chewbacca #2 – B
Gerry Duggan
Artist: Phil Noto

The second issue into Chewbacca’s adventure without his cohort in smuggling Han Solo brings him to the point where he is helping a young girl named Zarro free her friends and family from the evil gangster Jaum. This issue focuses on them basically getting to where they need to be and starting their plan, but it ends at a place where we don’t know if anyone survived. Gerry Dugan does a good job writing, especially for Chewbacca seeing as all he says is, “Hraa, Rawrrrrr!!” and similar manuerisms. You definitely get the point across by the great art of Phil Noto as well making sure Chewies expression comes across very clear and we know what he is thinking simply by the illustration. Duggan of course has the supporting cast help out with the emotions and plot but overall this series seems to just be getting its footing and the end of this issue leaves us eagerly awaiting the third issue. – Jacob

Deadpool vs. Thanos #4 – B
Tim Seeley
Artist: Elmo Bondoc

The final issue in this series finally brings us the versus in Deadpool vs Thanos and boy is it an insane battle. After Deadpool and Thanos finally find out where Death is they along with Black Talon head straight to her location to find she is prisoner of Eternity because of the chaos she has caused in, well, all of eternity. Eternity battles Deadpool and Thanos and ends up actually killing them but Death brings them back as the undead to battle Eternity but Thanos gets a little out of control and Deadpool has to try and take him out before he actually destroys everything by killing Eternity. The story ends well and we see a couple epic battles, but overall the series was a little disappointing in that the journey to the good end was a bit unneeded. That is not saying it isn’t an enjoyable ride, but the series could have had a bit more substance to it and a little less mindless journeying. I do have to say Tim Seeley’s writing is enjoyable the whole time, despite some of it feeling filler material and Elmo Bondoc’s art is what really carried me through the series. – Jacob

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.

Secret Wars Agents of Atlas #1 Review

Of course on Battle World, almost everyone has “Kill Doom” on their bucket list. That motivation has made the vast majority of Secret Wars very hit or miss, but mostly miss. That’s fine for a few of the series, but sometimes a series embraces its messed up world and its adventure takes place largely in spite of Doom being god. Agents of Atlas does it in what might be the most refreshing way possible: a fairly simple rescue mission.


The book opens with a brief description of Baron Zemo who rules Metropolita with a ruthless iron fist. SHIELD acts as his bludgeon, and the Agents of Atlas is the only group who stands against him in any significant way. Gorilla Man has a meeting with agent Coulson because Johnny Woo (leader of the Agents) is missing. Turns out SHIELD isn’t the bludgeon the Agents thought they were, and off they go looking for Woo. As a plot, it’s pretty simple. So, what gives it it’s A+? As far as I’m concerned, there are three things: the art, the quirk, and the tightness of the narrative.


Steve Pugh handles the art. I know him most memorably from Generation X (Marvel’s most underrated book IMHO), though his CBDB reads like a good portion of the comic book reading public’s “best of” lists. His art is clean, and expressive and makes good use of heavy lines. Those seem like such basic comic-art requirements, but Secret Wars has been overwhelmingly plagued by some low-rent looking art. But, in a single panel, we don’t even need the caption to see the looks of absolute haunted trauma.

Secret wars agents of atlas 2

He captures reactions and subtle details of non-human characters as well. It’s not really a ground breaking skill, but it’s nice to be able to interpret emotions via faces without having to rely on story cues (looking at you, Mike Land). I mean, ultimately, Pugh isn’t the best artist, or even the best artist of Secret Wars, but his clear, crisp art is.


The story is full of quirk, both inherent to the concept of Atlas, and playing within the bounds of Marvel. Just for eyeball’s sake, (most of) our heroes:

agents of atlas 1 potw

Gorilla Man: a man turned gorilla through a curse, and whoever kills him inherits the curse
Marvel Boy: alien royalty psychically bonded to a UFO (not pictured)
Namora: cousin to the ruler of an underwater kingdom
M-11: a robot riddled with some pretty faulty programming.

Not pictured are Jimmy Woo — Chinese American secret agent; and Venus — a living siren acting as goddess. I mean, really, the team cries out for a Morrison run. If there’s anyone out there who can incept that idea in his brain, then by all means, please do. For the sake of the world.

The weirdness doesn’t end there either. I mean, Baron’s making these:

Secret wars agents of atlas 1

And I don’t care about spoilers, but there’s some weirdness with Baron’s sun that’s too delightful for me not to want you to discover it on your own.


I think the best thing about this, like the Silver Surfer stories, and “Pax Romana” is that not a single word or panel is wasted. The story is so tight and fast paced. Every element feeds just perfectly into the next, and all the tension is character driven: because Gorilla Man is so good, they hunt for Jimmy Woo; the story resolves in part because M-11 is able to overcome his faulty programming. Zemo’s evil is the result of a very flawed search. But the action feels purposeful and fast and inventive, and you can’t wait to see what comes next. I mean, u guys…

Secret wars agents of atlas 3
I frequently think that Marvel tries to steer away from the weird and nonconformist sometimes because now they’re owned by Disney, and as such, their entire survival depends on being accessible, non-alienating, and recognizable. It just feels like genuine fresh air to see something so unique.

Comic Book Reviews 10-21-15

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:

agents of atlas 1

Secret Wars: Agents of Atlas #1 – A+
Writer: Tom Taylor
Artist: Steve Pugh

Wow. I really didn’t expect this to be as good as it was. I picked it up mainly because I remembered how Agents of Atlas was a quirky throwback to pulp spy and hero teams. Instead, we have what is easily one of the top five best one-shots of Secret Wars, and it makes me wish the whole thing was like that. This issue makes me realize that Agents of Atlas has Grant Morrison’s name all over it (and in fact, wrote an amazing limited series for Marvel Boy, a member of this iteration of Atlas). But it was fun and dense and as quirky as I could have wanted, and the art was clear, expressive, and colorful. Read more in the full-length review here– Montgomery

Other Reviews: 

DC/Vertigo Comics:

Justice League #45 – A
Writer: Geoff Johns
Artist: Francis Manapul
Colorists: Francis Manapul, Brian Buccellato

If you’ve read the last issue of Justice League, then like me, you have no idea what the hell is going on. After a huge plot twist last issue, things have gotten even zanier. The New Gods are not just random weirdos with fancy names; they are the Justice League! The way I interpreted it is that the band just broke up, and there are four new solo albums on the way. I’ve never seen anything like this happen before, and I’m stoked to find out what comes next. I’m glad DC did the right thing here and didn’t spread this book to the far corners of the other DC titles – that would be a clusterf*ck. Instead, Geoff Johns is just doing his thing, and I keep reading because of it. – Sherif

Bizzaro #5 – A-
Writer: Heath Corson
Artist: Gustavo Duarte

This penultimate issue of Bizarro is filled with lots of story and leaves us wondering exactly what could happen in the last issue. But in the mean time, we get a great X-Files reference with good ol’ Chicken Soup (What Bizarro calls “Mulder” of just the male agent). This issue also sees Colin the Chupacabra leave the group and a betrayal of Bizarro’s worst friend Jimmy actually anger Bizarro so much Jimmy becomes Bizarro’s best friend and may be the end of the team. Heath Corson does a great job with this story and really made me care for all the character along the way and made up a rather good team with Bizarro, Colin, Jimmy and Chastity Hex. It makes me really want this as an ongoing series and not just one more issue. Even if this last issue next month sees the last of Bizarro, this creative team did just about everything I would want from a Bizarro series and more and just as much as Corson’s writing is brilliant and fun, Gustavo Duarte’s art completes this series as one I will display proudly on my comic book shelf. – Jacob

Gotham Academy #11 – B+
Writers: Becky Cloonan & Brenden Fletcher
Artists: Karl Kerschl with Msassyk and Mingjue Helen Chen
Colorists: Serge LaPointe & Msassyk Colors
It was our ragtag teams biggest adventure yet! The big city… Gotham City! Maps created a masterful plan to get info on Olive’s mom. Red Robin made an appearance, and some fun was poked at DC for the amount of Robins they have. It was a rare meta appearance, but a welcome one. I was thoroughly entertained while reading this issue; there was laughter at Maps, exhilaration at the plan, and awe at the art. Gotham was portrayed so well, it almost felt as if I was watching a live-action cartoon instead of reading a comic. Gotham Academy never disappoints with the art. – Adrian
Titans Hunt #1 – B
Writer: Dan Abnett
Artists: Paulo Siqueira & Geraldo Borges
This book has piqued my interest, but be warned… this book is not for Teens. Notice that they aren’t Teen Titans (albeit, they aren’t teens anymore), but the “Titans” part might make you think it is a good buy for a teenager. Nay. Anyhow, considering there is a large cast of characters and none of them are in the same physical place, I really liked how they told many different stories. Some characters are more familiar than others, like Dick Grayson and Roy Harper. Learning about the characters I don’t know too much about will be a good time, and I enjoyed this book enough that I feel it will be my avenue to find out more. – Adrian

Wonder Woman #45 – F
Writer: Meredith Finch
Artist: David Finch

This is me reading Wonder Woman after Brian Azzarello left
This is me reading Wonder Woman after Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang left. – Sherif


IDW Publishing:

Transformers #46 – B+
Writer: John Barber
Artist: Sara Pitre-Durdcher

It’s pretty cool to see that they have a woman doing the art. She’s damn good too. I’m a little bummed that Earth is still a central element in this book’s plot, especially when there are so many other cool things happening: a surreptitious return of the Decepticons; Prime seeking the Lightbearers (semi-divine angel-like robots); Cosmos perhaps joining up with Soundwave; Jazz trapped in an acidic… egg? There’s cool stuff and Earth, speaking as someone who lives here, is stupid. I’d rather see robots. I mean, I see humans everyday and I’m rarely impressed. – Montgomery

Back to the Future #1 – D
Writer: Bob Gale
Artist: Brent Schoonover

If you want to remake the magic so badly, go to Goodwill, get a VCR player, and buy the first two movies. Better yet, go buy a ridiculous BTTF hat, or a $20 Pepsi Perfect. When does this rebranding madness end? A few days ago (10/21) was a huge milestone in nerd culture. We finally caught up to the future time in Back to the Future. Instead of letting that day gracefully pass in honor, it’s been exploited to shit, and the result is shitty comic books like this. This is a whore of a book, and an easy way for “the man” to collect on your money. Ut’s not the worst thing ever, but it even smells desperate. – Sherif

Image Comics:

Tokyo Ghost #2 – C
Writer: Rick Remender
Artist: Sean Murphy

After only two issues, the in-your-face social commentary is beginning to wear on me. It’s almost too much of a caricature to be enjoyable. Oh, and the floppy wiener. Really? The part of the story I enjoyed the most was the background story of Debbie and Teddy, and how she lost him to being plugged in. I wonder if that’s a metaphor for the missing million (called hikikomori) in Japan. It’s a beautiful book, and the concept is very intriguing, so I will continue reading. – Sherif

Second Opinion (B+)I like this book, but something about its pacing and construction makes me feel a little claustrophobic and panicky. – Montgomery


Marvel/Icon Comics:

Journey to Star Wars The Force Awakens: Shattered Dimension #4 – A
Writer: Greg Rucka
Artist: Marco Checchetto

As this series ends, we get a huge look into how these characters new and old will connect for The Force Awakens even if some may not even be present. We end this series with Shara Bey having to accompany Luke to a secret base of the Emperor to retrieve a secret possession had stolen and kept for years. We get a lot of action and an explanation at exactly why Poe Dameron may be so closely connected to everyone in the new film. Greg Rucka did an excellent job with the story for this issue and the series as a whole and gave us a great, albeit short look at some things to expect from the new film while also making sure to keep things ground in the past six films leading up to Episode VII. Marco Checchetto’s art is what really sold me on the book. It is insanely detailed to the point even the back of an alien head is gorgeous and deserves to be a print sold everywhere. I look forward to the future stories leading to the new film and can only hope this creative team keeps on working on Star Wars books. – Jacob

The Uncanny Inhumans #1 – A
Writer: Charles Soule
Artists: Jay Lesiten (pencils), Steve McNiven (inks)

I am surprised at how good these Marvel relaunch titles are so far. So much more interesting than the bland-as-snow-in-a-snowstorm New 52 launch. Uncanny has that adjective attached solely, as far as I can tell right now, because Beast is working with them. There are two plots: Black Bolt with two of his friends — Reader and his dog Forey, and Inhumans mainstay Triton — are trying to track down Black Bolt’s son against the wishes of Kang the Conqueror; meanwhile Medusa in a very-much-Morrison-inspired-style is performing global rescue operations scooping up all the humans-turned-Inhuman and taking them home. Also she’s banging Johnny Storm. Inhumans and mutants have been my two favorite Marvel groups for probably the past 20 years, and it’s interesting to me they would hate each other as is very much implied (well, stated) by Beast. It’s also interesting because it hints at the animosity that often exists between repressed groups, though I’m unaware of any stated tension between people on the LGBTQ spectrum (mutants) and refugees (Inhumans). Oh, and th@ art tho. – Montgomery

Karnak #1 – A
Writer: Warren Ellis
Artist: Gerardo Zaffino

Sometimes when Warren Ellis writes for Marvel, he gets way too caught up in being Joss Whedon, and tries to make every single one of his characters the king of the empire of snark instead of doing the thing that makes him Warren Ellis. Maybe that’s a function of working for Marvel: Marvel seems to think that witty dialogue can be an easy stand-in for character development. But th@ Karnak tho. He managed to avoid the curse. Karnak has left the Inhumans and lives in the Tower of Wisdom contemplating the meaningless of bricks, and what he and bricks have in common, namely that the universe doesn’t care about any of them. I love that Ellis and Morrison both seem to be tapping into that good old fashioned True Detective-born philosophical nihilism – which really means that it’s the book’s responsibility to teach Karnak the error of his ways. I’ve always loved the Karnak type (see also: Spock, Agent Cohle, Silver Surfer): the person who puts the value of knowledge above all else no matter how terrifying the conclusion. And, apart from a weak ending (which, if not for this, this book would have been an A+) Ellis nails it. The book has a sort of existential bleakness that is oddly comforting. – Montgomery

Invincible Iron Man #2 – B+
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: David Marquez
Colorist: Justin Ponsor

Another short issue of Brian Michael Bendis’ new Iron Man series wraps up, and it was full of solid art, intrigue, and gut-busting snarky comments. The only character in the Marvel U that can out-snark Tony Stark is Doom, and his time in panel is great entertainment. The AI he programmed in his suit, Friday, is also made for maximum sass. It’s a really fun issue, even if you aren’t a huge Iron Man fan. However, with Doom and Madame Masque up to Doom knows what, this will be an interesting ride. – Sherif

Second Opinion (A) – I am so invested in this series. I love Friday’s “To-do List” that let’s us know what happened and what is happening. I love the clean lines and colors. I love the very “Tony Stark” way of doing things. And Madame Masque is a freaking bad-ass. LOVE! – Adrian

The Amazing Spider-Man #2 – B
Writer: Dan Slott
Artist: Giuseppe Camuncoli

This series continues on with the funny. Peter Parker may not be that hometown hero anymore, but he can still make some pretty good quips, and that’s why we love Spider-Man, isn’t it? The fact that he is a CEO now is a little hard for me to wrap my mind around, especially because the tech he made doesn’t seem to be for good, per se. But who am I to judge? I do think this issue did a better job of creating a storyline, and I am very interested in getting to know the Zodiac even better. – Adrian
The Astonishing Ant-Man #1 – B-
Writer: Nick Spencer
Artist: Ramon Rosanas
Even though Spencer is still on this series, it feels different from the Ant-Man series that just wrapped up before the reboot. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but I hope that changes in the next few issues. Lang is still funny, but this issue seemed more on the serious side. I know part of that is Lang’s relationship with his daughter, which was one of the appeals of the other series. The best part of this issue was the commentary on apps and how people use them. It made us all look like damn fools, which I always enjoy. Here’s to a stronger issue next time! – Adrian

Age of Apocalypse #5 – F
Writer: Fabian Nicieza
Artist: Ibal Coello

This is the most disappointing resolution to a Secret Wars comic I’ve read yet. Everything about this comic was deeply fulfilling: the very talented Geraldo Sandoval quit interior pencils after maybe the second issue; the story made no goddamn sense at any point; and, in general, everything felt very claustrophobic and small. So, as sort of a recap, Apocalypse wants Douglas Ramsey (Cypher, for anyone who cares. Oh, you don’t? I guess that makes sense) for… reasons. And other people want… things? I’m not even sure. Fast forward to issue 5, and Apocalypse accidentally kills himself (gigantic copout), and his science lackey, Nemesis, wants to murder everyone. Uh, things happen? People die, and then a part of Emma Frost’s brain is put into Jean Grey to reactivate the Phoenix, which doesn’t make any sense. The hope is that Phoenix will take on Doom, but no. She wakes up and deletes all the mutant genes. Just so we’re clear: according to this comic, the way to deal with a maniac despot that puts your people in a ghetto is to appease him. In this case, that means Phoenix makes everyone a regular human, which is disturbing when the X-Men have most often been metaphors for communism, socialism, and the full array of alternative sexuality. So, just ditch your alternative political beliefs and that offensive sexuality you were born with, and you too can be happy living under the thumb of a maniacal god. Oh. And Douglas Ramsay is never any good to anyone… I can’t even believe how terrible this ending was. – Montgomery

Oni Press:

Invader Zim #4 – B
Writer: Eric Trueheart
Artist: Aaron Alexovich

We have yet another one-shot issue here where we see an Irken engineer make a portal so that the Irken leaders can send anything to any invader at any time, but they have to be careful because this is a one way portal and nothing can be sent back without blowing up half of space. Naturally, the Irken leaders use this technology to play an elaborate prank on Zim by sending him trash and telling him it is an Irken super weapon and he needs to protect it with his life. As Zim prepares for other aliens and evil forces to come steal his weapon and the Irken leaders laugh endlessly about the whole thing, we see Zim have a visitor at his door. This story was definitely a fun one and one that felt very much like a true Invader Zim episode with the same great humor and twistedness we come to expect from Invader Zim. A huge round of applause to Eric Trueheart for his writing here. Aaron Alexovich does a near perfect job with the art, as well, which really brought this all together and made it read and look just like classic Zim. – Jacob

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.

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.

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+
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.