Comic Book Reviews 03-04-15

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:

Descender #1

Descender #1 – A

(A)The first thing that strikes me with Descender is the artwork. It’s soft and beautiful. It looks like it’s done with watercolors; you can actually see the texture of the paper. Now that’s out of the way, the story is very intriguing. The nine core planets of a solar system are attacked by massive robots that appear above the planets. Over 80% of the population is wiped out. Yet almost all of the artificial intelligence on the planets is left unharmed. This leads to a robot genocide and all future AI use is strictly prohibited. On a mining moon outside of the nine core planets, an android designed as a child companion awakes after 10 years to find all of the people of the mine have been dead for years and the mine is now populated by skeletons. And there is a connection between this “boy” Tim and the huge robots, called Harvesters, that attacked the planets. This is going to be really good and probably really sad at some points. I’m in. – Scott

(AI love that Lemire is one of these guys like Hickman that seems to come from nowhere, but cranks out amazing stories with almost brutal efficiency. And Descender is a perfect sci-fi follow up to the expertly delivered Trillium. It’s a little weird reading a Lemire book without his art, but god is Descender‘s water color art gorgeous. And I love the mystery of future apocalyspes and giant robots, and the slow meditative way in which Lemire tells his stories. Everyone should read this book. Maybe only those who really, really, hate sci-fi wouldn’t get something out of it, but I want more. More please. – Montgomery

Other Reviews: 

Dark Horse Comics:

Neverboy #1 – C-

Neverboy #1 chronicles the existence (or lack thereof) of a former imaginary friend to a little boy, whose services are no longer required, so now he is clinging to the real world with the use of drugs. This is one that sounded so original and interesting but man did it really fall flat. It wasn’t bad, but at no point did it have a catching moment. It was boring and while the idea behind it is great, the vision didn’t translate well in print. Neverboy himself is not so endearing as I hoped he’d be, and while it’s sad the boy who imagined him died, the story didn’t really do much to touch on how he still exists, let alone how he gets ahold of and consumes hallucinogenic drugs. Not having these answers doesn’t ruin the book, but it does contribute to the feeling that this comic doesn’t have a whole lot going for it. Maybe if I imagine hard enough, the next issue will be worth reading. – Keriann

Rat God #2 – D+

I really don’t know what possessed me to come back and give Rat God another try, but I guess I’m kind of glad I did. I think. Issue #2 was at least more interesting than the first, and I really appreciate that this takes place in a universe where the “white civilized” people worship Lovecraftian gods – that’s neat. Overall though, I still kind of feel like I hate this damn book. The main character, Clarke is kind of a befuddled asshole and there still isn’t a lot of sense or reason behind anything that is happening. I’m not sure if it is just the artwork or if certain people are supposed to look like potatoes and others are supposed to look like rats, but either way I hate looking at it. Judging by the title, I’ll assume the rat people are supposed to look like rat people but that doesn’t mean I have to like it. Rat God has basically no charm, but for some reason I want to know what happens. – Keriann

DC/Vertigo Comics: 

Lobo #6 – C+

Ok so my prediction of sweet, sweet extremely violent lovemaking from issue 5 was wrong. There was a violent entanglement and penetration, but it was from swords. So the first story arc is done, Earth is saved, and some characters no one cared about died. Now Lobo is on a new mission to track down the man who commissioned the destruction of Earth and Lobo’s home world. It was kind of interesting to see what really happened to Czarnia. It has a lot to do with the royal blood line, and a light of blood from a completely crazy person. So that was neat. I’m hoping the story pans out a lot from here because this first go around was not very engaging. – Scott

Wolf Moon #4 – C

Where Wolf Moon started out with a bang it really seems to be fizzling to nothing now. The last two issues have had so little story development and so much pointless carnage, I’m really finding myself losing interest. The story seems to be turning in a strange direction now that has very little chance of offering a big payout in the end. So someone is trying to keep the Wolf alive? Okay, but there are very limited ways that storyline can turn out that won’t suck. And the showdown between Dillon and Hodge at the mall was kind of annoying. Like hey there is a giant werewolf tearing people to shreds, but we should probably waste time and ammo on each other because our methods of werewolf hunting differ. In the meantime, 100 extra people died. Good job guys. I just don’t see where this is going anymore and I’m certainly not on the edge of my seat with anticipation. – Keriann


Project Superpowers: Blackcross #1 – B-

Blackcross did not get off to a strong start for me. So far it’s telling individual stories that will undoubtedly crash into one another before long, but for a first issue it really didn’t provide enough to hook me. It was too cryptic to be truly intriguing. Once again, I like the idea behind it of alternate realities overlapping in one town, but there was basically no mention of that in this issue. I only know that is a (supposed) plot point because I did my research and I read the preview for the second issue. The intros to each character were too short with very little depth and while mystery can be good, it is not quite working in Blackcross’ favor. – Keriann

IDW Publishing:

Powerpuff Girls Super Smash-Up #2 – C+

This months Powerpuff Girls issue follows the Girls on their dimension-spanning journey to recover Dee Dee, who has turned into a monster by being doused with chemical X.  This issue we see the Girls travel to the world of Courage the Cowardly Dog with new transporters Dexter had created to help aid in the pursuit of Dee Dee, and the girls get mistaken for the dark and mysterious dog sitter and think of course hijinks ensue. Now the writing and art for this issue was done by Derek Charm and despite some small plot holes which can be expected in cartoons, we have a pretty solid story so far. The art as well is wonderful; IDW has really done a good job of getting artists to cross mediums of these shows and make them fit together nicely instead of smashing them together as the title may suggest. – Jacob

Star Trek/ Planet of the Apes #3 – C

In this third issue, we continue where we left off with Chekov knocked out and George Taylor has run off with his communicator trying to get beamed up to the Enterprise which takes most of the crew back up to the Enterprise. Not much else to the story in this one and honestly I felt this was the worst issue so far, especially due to the story here. It felt like the whole plot with George Taylor could easily have been skipped, as the conflict here could easily have been resolved last issue with a few extra lines.  Don’t get me wrong though because as a whole Scott Tipton and David Tipton do very well with the writing here. The short intro with Dr. Zaius, and then the scene at the end between the Klingon Kor and the ape, General Marius, were the best parts of this issue and definitely saved it a bit for me as they moved the story along a bit better. Rachel Stott does return for art with this issue and I do hope she continues for the whole series because her art is definitely one of the main things that convinced me this crossover could work and not just be a cheesy jump-the-shark moment as we have seen with crossovers many times over. – Jacob

Image Comics:

Nameless #2 – A-

Nameless keeps delivering with a couple of shocking (and gory) twists with the nameless titular character, Nameless, now aboard the secret moonbase in pursuit of the meteor Marduk. It’s gargantuan sized weirdness, and I can’t possibly say no. And the amazing image of astronauts plastered with occult symbols. Seriously: it’s one of those designs that’s so simple and awesome that I feel a little jealous I didn’t think of it first. – Montgomery

Nailbiter – Hack/Slash #1 – B+

I have never read Hack/Slash before, but after this one-shot, I am very intrigued!  This issue featured two stories – one based more on the Nailbiter story, and one based more on the Hack/Slash story. Both were written by their respective writers, but they both seemed to really work. Considering the Hack/Slash concept is of a girl, Cassandra, trying to find serial killers because her mom was one, it all makes sense that she would wind up in Buckaroo with Nailbiter himself. I was thoroughly entertained throughout, and I am not considering going back and reading some Hack/Slash namely because of Cassandra’s sidekick Vlad, who is absolutely hilarious. – Adrian

Big Man Plans #1 – B

I’m not entirely sure how to summarize what I just read because I’m not entirely sure what I just read. Big Man Plans is one of the strangest things I’ve read in a long time, yet it had its moments of being sad and heartfelt too. And then it seemed to end with the main character just about to beat in an elderly woman’s head with a hammer, so who the fuck knows. It’s dark as hell and I thought it was starting out as a comedy but then it quickly veered into some pretty heavy territory. As in killing people in Vietnam, beating people with tire irons, ripping dudes throats out with plastic forks…yikes. Big Man Plans is very well written though; it really carries you through the ups and horrific downs of this poor man’s life and eventually to a place of scary, angry hopelessness. I’m pretty sure I was supposed to close this book exactly the way I did, considering the last page is an editorial from the author titled “What the Fuck Just Happened?” This was definitely a strong introduction to a story I’m pretty sure I want to hear the rest of. – Keriann

God Hates Astronauts #6 – B

If you’re like me, then you too have ALWAYS wondered, “What’s the honorific title of a crab-man that heads a space vessel?” AHEM… … …Crabtain. Freakin’ fantastic. Nothing really makes sense in this series, but let me reassure (as I do every month) you that this has no bearing on how enjoyable this comic book is. New characters keep popping up and the old ones continue to perform hilariously. I’ve come to realize that I spend more time on GHA than any other comic. I scan every inch on every panel on every page for fear of missing something utterly sidesplitting. Often times I’m rewarded. The only thing keeping GHA from an “A” grade is the lack of coherency. Overall, not a big deal. But I can imagine how much funnier this story would be if it had a bit firmer grasp on reality. On second thought, scratch that. I don’t know what I was thinking. As long as GHA never stops, I’ll be content. – Taylor

Saga #26 – B

This month’s issue of Saga pushes our heroes further apart, but does very little to actually progress the story. Each story is left on a dramatic cliff-hanger that doesn’t do much by itself except for set up the next step in the journey. It’s unnerving, in a very Game of Thrones way. Just like the epic HBO TV show, you can’t complain too much – because it’s freaking awesome! More than anything, I am just anxious of how long the separate stories will be, well, separate. I love that we are introduced to new characters still, and I am unsure of them as I am the direction of the book. But still, I read on. – Sherif

Black Science #12 – C

My eyes and brain were on fire last month after reading issue #11. The story was right on the edge of spinning off into “rinse, wash, repeat” format. So much happened in the last few panels that blew away all my fears that this book was on a downward spiral. Traveling to the core of the onion!! Hell yes!! The first step towards the center was sure to be epic, right? Not so much. This month’s issue had me thinking, “I’ve already seen this – just in a different universe.” There was no significant plot or character development and all the pages were primarily filled with action which, oddly enough, did not add to this issue. The crazy backstory on Grant McKay was pretty mind blowing, but it still doesn’t get us closer to the core!! What’s in the core?! What’ll happen there?! Who will die next?! I want an onion!! Oh… and just when you thought futuristic psychedelic, robo-ninja shaman couldn’t get any cooler… he can cure diabetes. Boom… – Taylor

Marvel/Icon Comics:

Rocket Raccoon #9 – A-

In this issue we get the idea of why Star-Lord contacted Rocket last issue about Groot being a major threat, and the issue really throws us straight into the story by showing us a future where Groot is already destroying Earth by the time we open the issue.  In fact the actions of Groot see Hulk, an old Iron Man and Captain America battling him until Iron Man sends his consciousness to a suit in space to try and bring Rocket in to calm Groot down. We actually don’t see Rocket until page 7 of this issue but the reveal of him in the future is worth it – he is much darker and obviously seen a lot more shit than any Rocket we have seen in any reality to date. This issue sees another change in artist with Jake Parker taking that credit with both Skottie Young returning as writer and Jean-Francois Beaulieu as the colorist and this team definitely works well together and with this character. Jake Parker pulls off the look Skottie Young had for this series off very well and the introduction of Hulk, Iron Man and Captain America into this style works and actually adds a bit of vastness to a story that has limited itself to Guardians of the Galaxy for one or two issues and Deadpool in one panel. This issue can definitely be seen as a bit of a stand alone story, but it is definitely one of the better Rocket issues so far and may give us an idea where the series could go or ultimately end. – Jacob

Guardians Team-Up #1 – B

For this new weekly series, we see the Guardians of the Galaxy teaming up with different heroes, but for the first couple issues and the first story arc we will see them teaming up with the new Avengers team. A strange alien force has tracked down the Guardians and chased them to Earth where they crash-land and meet up with Avengers all the while the aliens move in to take both teams down. The story for this was a little predictable. However, Brian Michael Bendis does a great job creating a nice intro story and giving us a look into one of many situations that can bring these two teams together. Art Adams and Paul Mounts take the duty of Penciller and colorist for this issue and I have to say it is some of my favorite art to come out of Marvel for a couple months. The use of color in this issue is brilliant as it takes a switch from dark and gloomy space to a brighter and more realized Earth. – Jacob

Princess Leia #1 – B

What’s got two eyes, two legs, two arms, two buns and is ready to take on the galaxy?! Princess Leia is damn right! Marvel has got a trifecta of comic series running: Star Wars, Darth Vader and now Princess Leia. The story picks up immediately following the conclusion of Episode IV. The Rebels are still on Yavin IV and they’ve quickly transitioned from celebrating the destruction of the Death Star to planning their evacuation and finding a new home base. Leia finds herself a bit useless in the effort as all her fellow leaders refuse to let her take on any responsibility and encourage her to “grieve” the loss of her parents, people and planet. Well if I know Princess Leia (and you BEST believe that I do…) she’s not going take any of that sitting down. Like the true warrior Princess she is, she grabs another hot, young Alderaanian sista’ and they take to the Stars to corral all the remaining Alderannians in the galaxy. All signs point to this being a solid series. Terry Dodson’s penciling fits really well in the story (everything looks chic and sexy) and I like the aspect of bringing in new, alluring characters! I’ve got high hopes for my new favorite Disney Princess. – Taylor

Spider-Woman #5 – B

So Jessica Drew is mixin’ it up. She quit The Avengers, got a new costume and is practicing being a “normal superhero.” I made an oxymoron! I was most excited for the new suit this week. I couldn’t stand the old face mask and giant, bland tringles. The new suit looks better, but not by much. It’s more of a jacket with wings and a pair of odd goggles than it is a “suit.” But I guess it fits the whole “normal” persona pretty well. Listen to me – I’m like a regular fashionista over here (full disclosure – had to look up the definition of fashionista). As a whole the issue is pretty good. It’s got the workings of a good plot, but it’s too early to tell if it’ll be work continued reading. I like Jessica Drew as a character and if you do too then you’ll enjoy the issue. – Taylor

Return of the Living Deadpool #2 – B-

In this second issue of the series we see a separate group has a prophecy of a good Deadpool who will help them rid the world of both viruses but they are not too keen on the idea of a nice Deadpool and plan to kill him off like any other zombie er… Deadpool of the times. But the main story continues the adventure of Deadpool with the girl, Liz, and trying to save her family who was taken by the herd of Deadpools we saw last issue. They track the family to a train controlled by the Deadpools and get ready for an old west style train robbery, just with more zombies and violence of course. The same team behind last issue is leading this issue with Cullen Bunn on writing and Nik Virella doing the art respectively. The writing so far has been pretty enjoyable, especially for a Deadpool mini-series. I think the main great thing here is the art; the black and white style with only Deadpool having color leads for some very interesting and often beautiful images despite rotted dead people being in the frame. – Jacob


Funniest Panel:

Saga #26

Panel with the Most Awesomeness:

God Hates Astronauts #6

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.