Comic Book Reviews 11-05-14

Review Scale:

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Pick of the Week:

Rocket Racoon #5

Rocket Raccoon #5- A

This is probably my favorite issue of the new Rocket Raccoon series yet! That is saying something considering the majority of it is told by Groot and obviously all we read for about 85% of the issue is “I AM GROOT” This led to a really fun story that made you guess and pretty much understand what was happening purely by visuals. This leads to a fun story, which does mean a very quick read, but by the end you are laughing at what is happening, surprised by some cameos, and then laughing again at the ending. Definitely pick this one up as it seems to be a stand alone story. – Jacob

Other Reviews: 

Dark Horse Comics:

Ghost Fleet #1 – A-

What’s the first thing that crosses your mind when you hear the title Ghost Fleet? I grabbed this issue thinking I was about to swash buckle my way down the plank on the high seas. Boy, was I wrong and am I glad as ever I was. Ghost Fleet is difficult to describe. It’s a military thriller to the core, but while the first issue is gripping, with visceral violence, excellent dialogue, and all the twists you could want, it’s still as big of a mystery to me as when I imagined pirates and fluffy shirts. As it so happens, that’s a great thing. Part of the hook is the lack of answers. However, despite this, there is a story to tell in this issue. It’s a prologue to vengeance and if the next chapter is anything like the first, these waters will only get deeper and darker. The only thing that didn’t grab me was the art, but it doesn’t detract from the issue either. Ghost Fleet is definitely worth grabbing, and watch out, it might just grab back. – Zach

DC/Vertigo: 

Earth 2 #28 – B

Yep, They got me.  Even though the larger Future’s End event currently going on has seemed largely like one giant cluster – (“shut yo’ mouth”) of storytelling thus far, the Earth 2 series has rarely ever disappointed me. The storyline doesn’t move at all, but at least we get some back story on the characters currently whooping our heroes in the main arc.  There’s some decent storytelling,  great tie-in, and the art ain’t too bad either.  It seems we’re nearing the final outcome of this whole Apokolips mess that Earth 2 hasn’t quite been able to get rid of. Even though those of us who have been keeping up with New52: Future’s End already have some inkling of how the situation on Earth 2 ends up, it doesn’t in any way lessen my excitement for seeing the way it all shakes out. – Moke

Superman Unchained #9 – B

Well, it took over 15 months to release nine issues, but the Superman story by Scott Snyder and Jim Lee has finally concluded. It was everything I expect in a good Superman book: an inspiring mantra, a selfless act of sacrifice, and a lot of bad-ass full-page blowouts of Jim Lee’s work. Yet, even this was not enough to fully impress me. Here we are with a story on the world’s most recognizable superhero, written by the industry’s hottest writer (Batman, Wytches, American Vampire) and penciled by one of comic books greatest artists (Batman: Hush, New52 Justice League, X-Men). So why doesn’t the book carry the same bang that it headlines with? Honestly, the delayed release truncated the momentum that this book could have had, and the chemistry between the creative team was just not there like it could have been. It’s still very much worth your time, but don’t look for this to change the game. – Sherif

The New 52: Future’s End #27 – C 

I think I’m starting to figure out what’s happening in Future’s End. In the tangled mess that is the story of every single DC superhero ever (“five years from now”… ugh) an apparent convergence is starting to come together. I find myself caring only about Terry McGinnis (future Batman) and his role in this story line. There wasn’t much of that this issue, but it’s definitely driving my involvement. Fifty Sues and Superman are keeping my interest elevated too. Overall, I feel the series is still heavily dragging along. The uncountable storylines and characters are bogging things down. At this point I continue reading, hoping that at the end all this jumbled noise merges into a mind blowing event that will make me love this rough journey. – Taylor

Batman Eternal #31 – C+

Throughout this convoluted weekly series, there have been a lot of ups and downs. And while it definitely makes more sense than Future’s End, the other weekly book DC puts out, it is still far from being the complete story that the mixed bag of creators have tried to push it to be. This issue isn’t special in terms of plot development, although last week had enough momentum to carry the series for a while. This is, however, the first time Eternal has felt like a substantial Batman book as of yet. The unforeseen chemistry between Bane and Alfred is really fun to read – and while the finality of Batman Eternal‘s direction isn’t fully revealed, I finally get the feeling that the book is actually going somewhere. If Eternal keeps it up, it can still save us from itself. – Sherif

Lobo #2 – C+

So they rebooted Lobo a few weeks ago, the big biker guy is gone and he’s been replaced by someone in much tighter clothes, which is less fun. At least in the previous issue things were kind of interesting. This time around, not so much. We found out that Lobo has to kill a handful of bad guys as part of his current contract, and this in turn will save Earth. The people he’s tracking down so far are so unimportant in this issue that he takes out two of them in a total of three pages. He’s also been forced to team up with some earthlings, none of which yet seem really worth his or our time to care about. I’ll give Lobo this: the artwork is still very nice. It’s bright and exciting. The coloring is fantastic and the colors really add excitement to the action scenes. The story isn’t a total loss, but this issue was just interesting enough to bring me back for the next one. – Scott

Grayson #4 – C

At a certain point, I need to ask the question, “What is Dick Grayson’s place in the DC universe?” After the events of Forever Evil, where Geoff Johns (although great story-telling) wrote Nightwing into a complete corner. The attempt to still give a loved character some purpose has been challenging, and while it sounds like Grayson will be the DC version of James Bond, the first few issues have showed us that. That aside, Grayson really does try to gain some of that identity back in this issue, and gets a little bit of character, even if it is at the expense of coming off as corny. We’re still crawling towards an inevitable plot twist, but I’ll probably only be reading with half-hearted interest until that happens. – Sherif

Dynamite Entertainment:

John Carter: Warlord of Mars #1 – C

I don’t know if I’m just not the guy to like John Carter or if the things based on the books (but not the books) are just not well written. I suspect both. This is the worst kind of story: two people talking while the real stuff is happening OUT THERE somewhere. In this case, the Princess of Mars (I think her name is Tig ol’ Bitties, or that might be an alternate title for the comic) is in captivity while a Yankee soldier monologues to her about how everyone’s going to die. As with the movie, it’s hard to care about anything because there are 253 concepts introduced, but only 2 given screen time, and it’s compounded by the fact that it’s only a 30 page comic. The story is pretty weak, but the art is really crisp (though the only thing about the princess we’re supposed to care about visually is her mercurial cup size, which periodically changes from, like, a B to a DD). It reminds me of Joe Mad back in his Battle Chasers days. I guess Dynamite’s been running different John Carter books for several years, so maybe if I’d read those I would have been satisfied by the connections and reveals. – J.H.

Image Comics:

God Hates Astronauts #3 – A

CRACKA-BOOM!! SHA-BLOOT!! MOOOOO!!! I was in tears again this week, all thanks to God Hates Astronauts. This comic series is the epitome of stupid-humor done right! Ryan Browne is nothing short of a humor-genius. From the hilariously drawn animal and alien like characters, to the ridiculous plot and side stories, to the brilliant use of action narration – I cannot get enough of this comic. I’m a bit confused about how The Anti-Mugger plays into everything, but really… who cares?! His angle is comically golden – especially the part about the completely unexplained overly-muscular third arm growing out of his chest. The war between Crabulon and NASA of Earth is close and I fully expect it to be the funniest contest I’ve ever witnessed. – Taylor

Nailbiter #7 – B+

(A) Yeah, I just love this series. That’s really all there is to it. I think this is the best thing Joshua Williamson has out right now. Issue #7 goes off the main storyline a little, but only in order to do a tribute to comic writer Brian Michael Bendis. If you don’t know who he is, do yourself a favor and go look him up. And pick up Powers while you’re at it. Bendis is in Buckaroo to do some research on a book he is writing about serial killers. You learn a little bit more about The Whistler, and of course Nailbiter himself is creepy and awesome as ever. Again, issue #7 may have gone off the direct storyline a little bit, but the seeds it did plant only have me that much more excited for next month’s issues, which I hear has something to do with bees. Murderous, murderous bees. I definitely recommend Nailbiter to fans of the genre, and really to anyone that has a strong enough stomach. – Keriann

(B) This week, Nailbiter got a little meta on us. Brian Michael Bendis, famous comic book writer, came to Buckaroo to research the murder town for his own comic book. While the concept was slightly humorous, it overshadowed the story of the different killers in the town. The best part of the book was when Nailbiter himself met with Bendis and talked about the similarities between writers and killers. In a way it was a little creepy, but in a way, it made sense. The only part of the story that was pushed along this week was the introduction of The Whistler. While I still find this book enjoyable, they don’t need to have a shtick to be good. – Adrian 

Penny Dora and the Wishing Box #1 – B

This book is fun. It was an enjoyable read. It moved quickly, and the artwork by Sina Grace is quite nice. Penny Dora is the story of a little girl who is given a magic wishing box by an unknown person for Christmas. Naturally, low level chaos ensues. Well not really chaos, more like two Christmases and a big piece of ham for a cat. It’s cute and I totally recommend it for young kids, particularly girls. I myself don’t really feel a need to continue the story because it really feels geared towards a pretty young audience, and I felt kind of like a dork reading it. – Keriann

Birthright #2 – B-

(B+) Still going strong, this week Birthright shows us what happened to Mikey right after he was kidnapped, in addition to what happened when he was caught in our world. The book still holds onto the essence of badass hilarity. The dynamic between the adult Mikey and his brother are spot on. While I found myself still intrigued by the dialogue and the art, this month’s book was a slower go. It would be hard to fully live up to the first issue, but I have my full trust in Joshua Williamson that this story will be fully fleshed out, and in the best way possible. – Adrian

(C+) Okay, I may have been little overzealous when I reviewed the first issue and now I feel a little silly. The more I thought about it I figured I probably overreacted. Sadly, issue #2 certainly didn’t give me any warm and fuzzies to redeem my initial judgment of the series. I really like Joshua Williamson; I’m a big fan of his work and Birthright is by no means a bad book. It just might not be as good as I originally thought. Issue #2 picks up right where the story left off, but unfortunately there is not a whole lot of plot or character growth from there. The story develops a little bit in regards to the world Mikey was swept off to to become a warrior, but honestly it was just kind of a yawn. Birthright as a whole still has one of the more compelling story lines that I’ve come across in comics, but issue #2 just didn’t make a strong show of it. It was more like it happened, I read it, and now I’m moving on with my life. – Keriann

Tooth and Claw #1 – C

(B-) I was a fan of Conan the Barbarian and Beastmaster growing up. Those barbarian and tribal based fantasy movies brought me some joy so I was very interested in reading Tooth and Claw. The world that was once abundant with magic powers is now slowly losing that magic ether. A handful of wizards devise a plan to attempt to bring the magic back. We get a little look at the caste style system that is happening outside the main story lines, showing the treatment of those without magical abilities. The art is extremely detailed and looks great. The closer you get to the artwork the more you can see the fine detailing that went into each illustration. The one thing I don’t understand is why the creators felt that everyone should be an animal. The animal forms don’t really serve a purpose to expand on the characters themselves. The story line is alright and the art is definitely leading the pack. If you like those late 80’s style fantasy films you’ll probably enjoy Tooth and Claw. – Scott

(C) Talk about confusion. Tooth and Claw is Animal Farm meets Game of Thrones meets Harry Potter. There are animals using magic, dressed in grand robes and talking in incredibly long and confusing dialogue. While the theory is intriguing, I found myself losing interest page after page. While the art was colorful and grand, I found the story too difficult to keep up with. I think had the dialogue been a little simpler, it would have been more enjoyable. Or maybe, I’m just a simple minded girl. – Adrian 

American Legends #1 – C-

I’m disappointed. When I read what this series would be about, frankly I thought it had to be just freaking awesome. I was wrong. The whole thing honestly just felt really cheesy and the characters were unlikeable. I understand that obviously this book should have the feel of a tall tales book, but something about it really put me off. Maybe because it felt boring, maybe because the dialogue was too cheesy to be enjoyable, maybe it made Mike Fink and Davey Crockett seem more like Eric Estrada and that other dude from CHiPS; honestly I just can’t seem to put my finger on it. I was just let down. I was expecting something funny and exciting but instead I got a bunch of smarmy crap. It’s not the worst thing I’ve ever read and it at least had enough potential (although that may be a merit of overall premise) that I’ll keep reading, but it certainly is not off to a good start. I’m not mad, I’m just disappointed. – Keriann

Humans #1 – D

(B-) Humans is about a motorcycle gang in the ’70s who is dealing with the death of one of their members in this first issue. The name of the gang is The Humans and they’re like any biker gang from the 70s; sex, drugs, and fighting. Oh, and did I mention, they’re all apes. Yes, this is Planet of the Apes meets Easy Rider and it was an enjoyable read. It’s always hard for me to review first issues as they typically only set you up for what’s to come and the comic book medium doesn’t allow for many pages to get your point across, but, I will definitely be picking this one up again. Tom Neely’s art is well done, although, I would have liked to see the apes be a little less human looking, but either way, definitely give this a go. – Cody

(D-) Not knowing what I was getting into when I chose to read Humans, I found my self laughing through the first two pages. A monkey biker gang. In the 70’s. In Bakersfield, CA. What’s not to laugh at? But the cute factor that bordered on ridiculous quickly lost me. I feel like the concept is so rich in material, that to waste it is a shame, and what a waste it was. The gang must say to goodbye to one of their own. They then celebrate his death like he is a Barrymore, complete with a monkey blow job – which is where the comic lost me. Was showing monkey dick splooging really necessary for the story line? I think not. The 70’s was an era of major history making, so why not focus on that? – Adrian

Marvel:

Amazing Spider-Man #9 – A-

(A) It’s finally here!! All the Spidey’s are here!! I could barely contain myself this week in anticipation of the beginning of the Spider-Verse event. And rightfully so! The issue was great! Actually, let me alter that a bit. The issue was good. The buildup and reveal to this event was great! The Marvel team behind the Spider-Verse arch has done a superb job at really drawing me into this adventure before it even started. All critical aspects of this story were handled so incredibly well. No part of the multi-dimensional setting has been confusing, all heroes and villains are fantastically engaging (even Spider-Ham!), the plot is direct, yet unpredictable, you name it – every piece of the prelude served to make an excellent beginning. If you haven’t done so yet, be sure to catch up with The Amazing Spider-Man series. There are only nine issues (including this week’s) so it shouldn’t take long to come up to speed. I strongly recommend it folks. This series is quickly making its way to the top of my favorites list (right next to Saga and Black Science). Don’t let this web slinging epic pass you by! – Taylor

(B+) The first real dose of Spider-Verse is here, at last! Over the span of the past month plus, Marvel has been spewing out titles to prepare us for the against the spider hunters, and I am pleased to say that, as confused as I am, Earth 616’s (the main Marvel universe) Spider-Man is just as confused as to what is going on. I will say that if you have not at least read Superior Spider-Man #32, you will be completely lost here. Even with the background knowledge, there is a lot more to uncover in this storyline. For the mean time, though, just get ready for an exciting journey full of alternate reality characters, and full color commentary from the Spider-Man we know so much of already. I cannot wait to see what happens next, and what repercussions the even has on the rest of the Universe. Will Spidey hook up with Spidey Gwen Stacy? Who the hell eats Spider-Men for dinner? Whose identity will we know “soon enough?” Will Peter Porker make it out by the hairs of his chinny-chin chin? – Sherif

Spider-Man Team-Up #1 – A-

Yes! Yes! And a thousand times, Yes!  Continuing in a long-standing and well-storied tradition of Spider-Man team-up series comes Spider-Verse Team-Up #1.  This issue includes two stories featuring 5 different Spider-Men and does a great job highlighting the differences in characterization between each of them. I’m more in the “show me, don’t tell me” camp of storytelling, so this issue felt a little exposition heavy. However, while the main storyline doesn’t move much (expected for the number #1 of an ancillary title), I’m loving the differences in perspective of every Spider-character involved. Even the art reflects a slight difference in both perspectives and universes each story takes place in.  Consider me engaged, entertained and excited for all that the Spider-Verse has to offer. – Moke

Avengers and X-Men Axis #4- B+

Some pretty crazy stuff goes down in this issue, which after the events of Avenger vs X-Men and this, it kind of makes the whole X-Men team look like a bunch of fools. By the end of this issue I had some problems disliking what the X-Men, my personal favorite superhero team, was doing. But besides them being shady, this series is proving to be the major event of this year to me and so far it has been much more engaging and surprising than the mostly huge messes that were/are Original Sin and Death of Wolverine. I would try and pick up this issue if you can because it is the perfect starting point. – Jacob

Deadpool’s Art of War #2- B+

(A) What a stylistically brilliant series this is! I had some doubt with the first issue as the set up was rather weak, but in the second issue we get a lot more into the actual theme of Sun Tzu’s Art of War which really makes for a great story overall. We also get a pretty funny ending to the Loki story set up in issue #1 and the art, especially the covers to this series are worth the price as they are poster worthy images. I would say the main down fall to this series is a lot of the wit and humor is lost if you don’t have prior knowledge to Art of War. If you can get over the actual teaching of that book and just enjoy Deadpool meddling with the Marvel Universe it is definitely a great series to follow and I of course always love the insane amount of historical humor Deadpool always brings to the table. – Jacob

(B) My studies continued this week as Deadpool shared more on his Art of War publication. Still using the trickster God, Loki, as his medium of instruction, Deadpool takes readers through the highlights of a few more chapters from Sun Tzu’s historic text. I’ve found myself genuinely interested in Deadpool’s interpretation of Art of War. This intrigue has dulled some of the comedic aspect, but I don’t mind that – this issue still made me smile and laugh. This issue brought in other Marvel superheroes, which added to the enjoyment. Hopefully more of this waits in next month’s issue. Until then, I’ll continue to ponder the imparting of Sensei Deadpool! – Taylor

Death of Wolverine: Life After Logan #1- B+

Honestly this series and The Weapon X Program have been the two series of this massive and never-ending Death of Wolverine saga going on that have worried me the most. But I have to say this issue was not only good, but one of the best offerings in the whole Death of Wolverine series. In this, we get three separate stories covering how certain characters are coping with the loss of Wolverine. In this issue, we get the first story focusing on Cyclops, the second focusing on both Nightcrawler and Colossus, and the third about Armor. I think the stories after Wolverine’s death, particularly this and the Deadpool and Captain America series, both capture more of what I wanted from the whole Death of Wolverine arc than what the actual story gave us. Each one of these stories is a great example of why Wolverine was so much more than this feral animal with berserker rage. As Armor says in this issue “Everyone thought he was all “GRRRR” and “STAB” all the time. But he was the best there was at everything he did—and that included a few laughs.” – Jacob

Death of Wolverine: The Weapon X Program #1- D

To be honest, this has to be one of the most unneeded and boring installments to Death at Wolverine they have released yet. I found no need for this story, no need to introduce a bunch of new characters, and absolutely no need to have to show us the Weapon X facility and what happened after Wolverine died there.  The art is definitely enjoyable and offers a good look at the Marvel Universe, but even as an artist I have to admit with comics, art is not everything. In the story, we get something that really makes you feel like Death of Wolverine is even more dragged out than you already thought it was. Definitely skip this book if you can, but it may prove to become better in time. Since I am a completest, I have already devoted myself to reading all of Death of Wolverine, so I will suffer through this series for you if it continues to be bad. – Jacob

Funniest Panel:

God Hates Astronauts #3
God Hates Astronauts #3

 

Panel with the Most Awesomeness:

Superman Unchained #9
Superman Unchained #9

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, Oni Press, Dynamite Entertainment, DC and Marvel for putting out great books.