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:
Black Widow #1 – A
If you’re looking for a kick-ass superhero book, pick this up. Black Widow has always been a character worthy of her own series; an ex-KGB and current Avenger, Natasha Romanov is shrouded in mystery and has the skills to take on anything. The art in Black Widow is amazing, giving off the feel like the whole story is being told through the lens of a spy, with extreme color detail (nod to Phil Noto!). I’m instantly sold on just how bad this chick is as she takes on two cases with ruthless efficiency. Not much developing yet in terms of a plot for this arc, but the issue itself is thoroughly entertaining with just enough detail to make you pine for the next one. – S
Dark Horse Comics
Star Wars #13 – C
The beginning of a five part spinoff story starts with Star Wars #13 this week. The topic – Vader’s revenge! Sounds cut throat and exciting right? Well… not so much in this issue. Following events in the previous 12 issues, Vader is out to force choke the life out of everyone who played a part in allowing the double crossing Bircher to take command of the Devastator. He recruits young Imperial ensign Nanda to chauffer him around the galaxy on his vengeance quest. While I enjoy the prospect of Vader violently using the force on others as an anger management technique, I can’t help but feel that this theme is overplayed. Through the entire issue there was only one moment in which readers experience the “Vader moment,” and even at that it only spanned two pages. The most intriguing and exciting potential for the next five issues are the elite, black-ops Stormtroopers (that have no record of ever existing) and what they will bring to Vader’s foes. The story has me interested, but not on the edge of my seat. I hope we get to see more out of Nanda and that Vader jumps into action soon. – T
Detective Comics #27 – A
This is not your average “special anniversary” issue. With DC celebrating 75 years of the Dark Knight in 2014, Detective Comics #27, which was the original comic that the Bat-Man appeared in dating back to 1939, is a great way to ring in the year. This issue is full of mini-stories, both feel-good and reflective, that explore a different aspect of Batman’s history. All are thoughtful and put a smile on my face, with Gregg Hurwitz & Neal Adams’ nostalgic story stealing the show. You can tell that the creative team that worked on this book had fun making it, and I had fun reading it. – S
Batman Black & White #5 – A-
Bringing back this collection of short stories about our vigilante hero is the best idea DC has had for a long time. Each issue is a series of vignettes about the Bat. All of the writers and artists so far have been a hodgepodge of the comic book elite. Issue five does not disappoint. I guess what I find so appealing is the old gumshoe approach that they have taken. The first story by Ivan Brandon puts us in the middle of a training exercise between Alfred and the bat. Several of the other stories focus on how clever Bruce Wayne is when he is tracking his prey. “Cat And Mouse” by Keith Giffen and “Hope” by Jimmy Palmiotti are great detective stories. My favorite, hands-down, is “I Killed The Bat” written by Blair Butler and illustrated by Chris Weston. This twisted tale of a cartoonist turned murderer will put a vicious smile on your face by the end of story. – J
Forever Evil: Arkham War #4 – B
The Bane we all know and love is back. With the Justice League out of commission by the Crime Syndicate, the Gotham rogues are left to pick up the pieces of territory. This arc reminds me a lot of No Man’s Land, where Gotham plunged into chaos and the rogues all fought over the remaining territory. All villains are scheming and plotting to get the upper hand over one another, but no tag team is more fun to watch than Bane and Talon. This issue is a full-out Battle Royal between the Gotham baddies that can get clustered at times, but well worth the price of admission. With Freeze and Scarecrow unleashing their own mind-controlled Talons, I can’t wait for the next one. – S
Batman/Superman #7 – C
Batman and Superman are in a colossal fight to death. Bats has been fitted with cyborg technology from the alien villain Mongul. He has been turned into a playable character in a global video game. Over 90 million gamers are in control of the Batman and are hell-bent on killing Superman. The overall story is a bit trite, but the artwork of Brett Booth gives this issue a vibrant look. This issue felt rushed, but if you’re in the mood for a quick mindless read with pretty pictures this is your choice. – J
Lil’ Vampi #1 – C
Li’l Vampi, a one shot by Eric Trautmann and art by Agnes Garbowska, follows pre-teen Vampi in her new adventures in Stoker, Maine. The puns from vampire, werewolf, and monster lore are cleverly put throughout the book. Vampi is a loner who doesn’t really get along with her peers because she is… well, weird. Her story reminds me a bit of if Buffy had taken place in her late elementary/ early middle school years. Vampi plays detective to the morbid in the town of Stoker. But her pet cat, Pantha is a good distraction from the social mishaps she endures. The best part of this book is Pantha, particularly when he turns his litter box into a miniature replica of the Pyramids of Egypt. Overall, I felt the story was a bit confusing, especially for the young targeted audience. The story bounces between the actual happenings of Vampi to her diary, without much warning, which could be confusing to new and young comic book readers. I do have to say the art was very well suited for the genre, of course, with cover work from Art Baltazar. This was a decent read, but definitely was out-shined by other releases this week. – A
Sex Criminals #4 – A
Across the back of issue four reads “For Mature Readers Duh,” something that readers should definitely take heed of. This is not the book you read with your friends. It’s raunchy, and foul, and my mother would be ashamed of me, but I love it. The story is written superbly by Matt Fraction, the writer behind the acclaimed Hawkeyeseries (ongoing!) and it focuses on two young lovers, Suzie and John, who can freeze time when they orgasm. This issue introduces us to Her and the sex police. It’s crude humor of the best kind and I can’t get enough of Sex Criminals. It’s only been four issues so I implore you to catch up, but only if you can handle that type of humor. – S
The Walking Dead #119 –B+
Excuse me a moment while I put my foot in my mouth, because TWD just shut me up with their latest issue. After a forgettable #118, we join our Survivors back at Alexandria as they regroup and prepare to defend themselves from Negan’s retaliation. We seem to have found a soft spot in Negan, as he killed one of his own when they try to sexually assault a POW a few episodes ago. That all seems to fade, though, as we get a reminder why we hate/love him so much. – S
Adventure Time: The Flip Side #1 –B
Adventure Time: The Flip Side may seem like a children’s book and, although it isn’t as popular as superhero comics, the first issue was enjoyable. It’s lighthearted, easy to follow, and good for some laughs at any age. If you are as big fan of the T.V. show as I am, you will enjoy reading this issue as you watch Finn, Jake, and Beemo take on a rather interesting and unexpected adventure. There isn’t anything dire going on – no threat of planetary destruction which only our heroes can prevent and no grand mystery that is looming over our heads. It’s about a group of friend going on an adventure because that’s what they do best. This book is humorous, enjoyable, relaxing, and just plain old Mathematical! I look forward to the next issue. – E
Marvel NOW Point One #1 – A-
This issue is designed to introduce multiple new arcs that all begin in the next few weeks. Point One is a great read throughout; some of the series will pique readers interest and some will not. Unlike the weekly previews publishers come out with that have only two or three pages, each of these stories actually have a starting and ending point. Especially engaging are the Black Widow and Ms. Marvel series. It’s about time we see some kick-ass women in comic. This isn’t your average variety comic, this is a collection of stories about Marvel’s soon-to-be front-running comics and they deserve your attention. – S
All-New X-Factor #1 – B
Serval Industries wants is open for business, their model, “we just want to help people.” But the real special thing about Serval Industries is their business associates – superheroes! Polaris has recruited Gambit to work for the seemingly noble and industrious Mr. Snow. Why shouldn’t a powerful, cutting-edge company recruit mutants?! What could go wrong?!… The concept put forth by Marvel and Peter David has got this reader very interested. I haven’t seen a concept like this explored in comics before. The theme is very down to Earth and jives very well with all us grownup nerds out there working a 9-to-5. The plot balances predictability and mystery nicely and the characters in focus are well selected. For casual Marvel fans, like me, I appreciate the effort to put well-know, but very dynamic characters into the story. I see a lot of potential in the follow up issues. I expect to see many more familiar faces and I can’t wait for the plot to gain additional depth. I recommended this issue for anyone out there interested in Marvel, but doesn’t necessarily know the entire cast and crew of Avengers vs. X-Men. – T
Avengers World #1 – B-
Unlike the current Avengers title,which centers around intergalactic epidemics, Avengers World takes the series back down to Earth, quite literally, as the Hand (again, no relation to the Foot) emerges as the threat. All your favorite Avengers are in action, with Captain America and Bruce Banner getting a majority of the spotlight. Banner is very witty and sarcastic throughout the issue and is instantly my favorite character. There’s a lot that happens here, and it’s great to see Marvel put out an Avengers book that focuses on what’s going on down here instead of out there. – S
Deadpool #22 – C-
After an intriguing last issue, Deadpool #22 keeps the momentum going with Deadpool tracking a traitor amongst S.H.I.E.L.D. A special All-Star appearance by Agent Coulson keeps the book fun and exciting; even his ’62 Corvette, Lola, is part of the action. There is not a lot of intrigue here, as most of the story is made of up situational humor. That being said, it is a Deadpool book, so it’s around the lines of what I was expecting. – S
GPA by Publisher:
DC Comics: 2 A’s, 1 B and 1 C, averaging out to a 3.25
Marvel Comics: 2 A’s, 2 B’s and 1 C, averaging out to a 3.20
Independents: 1 A, 2 B’s and 2 C’s, averaging out to a 2.80
Funniest Panel of the Week:
Epic Panel of the Week:
Cover Art of the Week:
That about wraps it up for our reviews this week! Look for next week’s previews coming soon. Any comic books you didn’t see reviewed that you want reviewed? Any grades you didn’t agree on? Let us know in the comments!
All images taken from ComiXology app and the credit for them goes to the respective publishers; thanks to IDW Comics, image Comics, Dark Horse, Boom! Studios, Dynamite Entertainment, DC and Marvel for putting out great books.
Written by Sherif Elkhatib, John Soweto, Adrian Puryear, Taylor Lowe and Evan Lowe