Best of 2014: Comic Books

Another year is in the books, and we here at Hush Comics couldn’t pass at the chance to rank our favorites of this year’s releases in all types of mediums. Some of the winners will surprise you; heck, some of the results surprised  us. The results are completely subjective, and therefore were chosen with infallible logic. We would love to hear your opinions on what we have chosen, or if you thought we missed anything. This should be a fun review before we gear up for 2015.

hush best of 2014
Click on the link to take you to the “Best of 2014” homepage for all categories.

This year’s nominations are…

Best Comic Book Series (Monthly On-going)

  • DC Comics – Batman (Scott Snyder & Greg Capullo)
  • Image Comics – Black Science (Rick Remender & Matteo Scalera)
  • Image Comics – Saga (Brian K Vaughan & Fiona Staples)
  • IDW Comics – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Tom Waltz & Mateo Santolouco/Ross Campbell)
  • Image Comics – The Walking Dead (Robert Kirkman & Charlie Adlard)

Results here.

Best Story Arc

  • DC Comics – Batman: Zero Year (Scott Snyder & Greg Capullo)
  • DC Comics – Batman: Endgame (Scott Snyder & Greg Capullo)
  • Marvel Comics – Spider-Verse (Various writers and artists)
  • DC Comics – Forever Evil (Geoff Johns & David Finch)
  • DC Comics – Multiversity (Grant Morrison & various artists)

Results here.

Best Creative Team

  • Brian K Vaughan & Fiona Staples – Saga (Image Comics)
  • John Layman & Rob Guillory – Chew (Image Comics)
  • Robert Kirkman & Charlie Adlard – The Walking Dead (Image Comics)
  • Scott Snyder & Greg Capullo – Batman (DC Comics)
  • Tom Waltz & Mateo Santolouco – TMNT (IDW Comics)

Results here.

Best Writer

  • Geoff Johns – Superman (DC Comics), Justice League (DC Comics), Forever Evil (DC Comics)
  • Josh Williamson – NailbiterBirthright (Image Comics), Captain Midnight (Dark Horse Comics)
  • Matt Fraction – Hawkeye (Marvel Comics), Sex Criminals, Satellite SamOdy-C (Image Comics)
  • Rick Remender – Black Science, Deadly Class, Low (Image Comics)
  • Scott Snyder – Batman, Superman: UnchainedThe WakeAmerican Vampire (DC Comics), Wytches (Image Comics)

Results here.

Best Artist

  • Fiona Staples – Saga (Image Comics)
  • Greg Capullo – Batman (DC Comics)
  • Leila del Duca – Shutter (Image Comics)
  • Mateus Santolouco – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (IDW Comics)
  • Mike Henderson – Nailbiter (Image Comics)

Results here.

Best New Comic Book Series

  • Image Comics – Deadly Class (Rick Remender & Wes Craig)
  • Marvel Comics – Ms. Marvel (G. Willow Wilson & Adrian Alphona)
  • Marvel Comics – Moon Knight (Warren Ellis/Brian Wood & Declan Shalvey/Greg Smallwood)
  • Image Comics – Nailbiter (Joshua Williamson & Mike Henderson)
  • Image Comics – Shutter (Joe Keatinge & Leila del Duca)

Results here.

Best Comic Book Mini-Series

  • Marvel Comics – Deadpool vs. Carnage (Cullen Bunn & Salva Espin)
  • Marvel Comics – Edge of Spider-Verse (Various writers and artists)
  • Marvel Comics – Hawkeye vs. Deadpool (Gerry Duggan & James Harren)
  • Vertigo Comics – Sandman: Overture (Neil Gaiman & JH Williams III)
  • Dark Horse Comics – Serenity: Leaves on the Wind (Zach Whedon & Georges Jeanty)

Results here.

Onto: Best of 2014 – Movies

Best of 2014: Comic Books – Best Writer

Another year is in the books, and we here at Hush Comics couldn’t pass at the chance to rank our favorites of this year’s releases in all types of mediums. Some of the winners will surprise you; heck, some of the results surprised  us. The results are completely subjective, and therefore were chosen with infallible logic. We would love to hear your opinions on what we have chosen, or if you thought we missed anything. This should be a fun review before we gear up for 2015.

hush best of 2014
Click on the link to take you to the “Best of 2014” homepage.

Best Comic Book Writer

  • Geoff Johns – Superman (DC Comics), Justice League (DC Comics), Forever Evil (DC Comics)
  • Josh Williamson – NailbiterBirthright (Image Comics), Captain Midnight (Dark Horse Comics)
  • Matt Fraction – Hawkeye (Marvel Comics), Sex Criminals, Satellite SamOdy-C (Image Comics)
  • Rick Remender – Black Science, Deadly Class, Low (Image Comics)
  • Scott Snyder – Batman, Superman: UnchainedThe WakeAmerican Vampire (DC Comics), Wytches (Image Comics)

WINNER – Scott Snyder

Batman, Superman Unchained, The Wake, Wytches.  The man is a comic book writing machine.  And just because he writes a lot doesn’t mean his quality comes down either.  After all, he does have an MFA from Ivy League university Columbia; the man knows what he is doing. And he is making fanboys and fangirls around the globe very happy with his work.  – Adrian

Second Place – Josh Williamson

josh williamson writer nailbiter 7 best of 2014
Nailbiter #7

 

For me, 2014 was the year of Josh Williamson, and I’m pretty sure that’s exactly how he wanted it. He was previously known for GHOSTED, but in 2014 Williamson launched two new series both of which have been pretty darn well received by their audiences and critics. Nailbiter is one of the most original and psychologically terrifying horror books to come out in 2014, but Josh apparently wasn’t done there; he decided to break the mold for fantasy books as well when Birthright came out in October. Williamson has a great career in the world of comics, especially for being less than 30 years told, and his unique take to storytelling is no doubt a huge factor in his success. If you’re not a fan or simply haven’t read his books yet do yourself a service and pick them up now. You can thank me later by sending me a nice bottle of wine. Or cookies. – Keriann

Third Place – Matt Fraction

Hawkeye #17
Hawkeye #17

Sure, he looks like Harry Potter’s dad, but Matt Fraction would never make fun of a muggle. Fraction has put in some good work with Marvel over the years, but this year has been an exceptional year for him. With Sex Criminals, Fraction and artist Chip Zdarsky have pushed the boundaries of censorship, and his Hawkeye run has been one of the highest-grossing books Marvel has in its lineup. Both of those books have netted him an Eisner Award in 2014. Recently, he has been the writer of Ody-C, an outer space interpretation of Homer’s The Odyssey. If you’re ever bored, check out his Twitter page, where his display name is “butt stuff reindeer.” He’s kind of a weirdo, and I mean that in a good way. – Sherif

RUNNER UP – Geoff Johns

Superman #35
Superman #35

If there was a crown for most consistently badass comic book writer, it would go to Geoff Johns. He’s like a reckless magician, introducing amazing and interesting new characters, and then vanishing before they ever really get a chance to live up to their potential or be fully fleshed out. I wish Johns could just write Justice League and Superman forever (not to mention Green Lantern, a book which he ended his ten year run on last year). Where Johns really gets it right is that he sees and plans the big picture before we even see the first panel; there is a plot of planning – logical planning – that go into a Johns story, and where you end up is exactly where you were meant to, and whether or not you saw it coming, you can’t believe that nobody ever thought to do this before. – Sherif

RUNNER UP – Rick Remender

remender black science 6 best of 2014
Black Science #6

 

With a pen of righteous glory, Rick Remender has a thing or two he could teach other comic book writers.  This year Remender killed it this year with Black Science.  His masterful way of telling a single story through the eyes of many (with vastly different viewpoints) resulted in me giving standing ovations in the middle of my living room.  Each character he brought to the page had something new to offer.  No one character was driving this ship and that made for very memorable reading.  Remender also knows what it means to let a story drive a genre.  Black Science is all about multidimensional travel – very sci-fi heavy.  But if you were to read an issue with just text and conversation bubbles and all blank panels you’d probably find yourself just as intrigued and captivated.  That’s the sign of a truly good writer.  That’s why Rick Remender is Hush’s writer of the year. – Taylor

Next category: Best Comic Book Artist

Best of 2014: Comic Books – Best Series

Another year is in the books, and we here at Hush Comics couldn’t pass at the chance to rank our favorites of this year’s releases in all types of mediums. Some of the winners will surprise you; heck, some of the results surprised  us. The results are completely subjective, and therefore were chosen with infallible logic. We would love to hear your opinions on what we have chosen, or if you thought we missed anything. This should be a fun review before we gear up for 2015.

hush best of 2014
Click on the link to take you to the “Best of 2014” homepage.

Best Comic Book Series (Monthly On-going)

  • DC Comics – Batman (Scott Snyder & Greg Capullo)
  • Image Comics – Black Science (Rick Remender & Matteo Scalera)
  • Image Comics – Saga (Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples)
  • IDW Comics – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Tom Waltz & Mateo Santolouco/Ross Campbell)
  • Image Comics – The Walking Dead (Robert Kirkman & Charlie Adlard)

WINNER – Batman (Snyder/Capullo)

 

Let’s be honest; this year belonged to the Batman. Writer Scott Snyder and artist Greg Capullo put out a superior product every month. Not only has Batman been DC’s highest-grossing title every month, but topped the sales charts five months this year (Source: Comichron); the next highest selling on-going series is the rebooted Amazing Spider-Man with two months at the top. In 2014, Batman tackled one of the most mysterious and intimidating parts of the Dark Knight’s lore, the origin, and carved out a place among the Batman legendary tales. Then,  If you are reading this book, you are witnessing history as it is happening. – Sherif

Second Place – Saga (Vaughan/Staples)

Saga Best Book Best of 2014
Saga #22

 

Saga has been a continuing monthly book with one of the most interesting and original story lines ever to have been published. Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples continue to dominate the science-fiction realm in comics. Brian K. Vaughn continues to show that he is one of the most creatively functional writers in comics today. There are things in Saga that you are guaranteed to not see in any other book ever. Our favorite fugitive family gets mixed up with a wonderfully eccentric theater troupe and Prince Robot IV has a son of his own. Matched up with Fiona Staples’ artwork, there seems to be no real slowing down for Saga; it’s the most creative, original, and beautiful series of the last two years. – Scott

Third Place – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Waltz/Santolouco)

tmnt 41 cover
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #41

 

This year I have read plenty of different series and there have only bee two that have had me on the edge of my seat waiting for the next issue and the more consistent of the two has been TMNT. This series offers absolutely everything a Turtle fan could want, honestly, as it has dealt with characters and situations from the long history of turtle history, almost like a little bit of a flashback series while also offering something completely new and just as awesome. The main team of Waltz and Santolouco are amazing and of course all the other artists and writers have been just as good making this the most consistently good series of the year to me. But with the Mutanimals coming up in the new year, a giant war against the Krang on the horizon and their crossover adventure with the Ghostbusters not being over yet, I am sure TMNT will continue to be one of my top favorites into 2015. – Jacob

RUNNER UP – The Walking Dead (Kirkman/Adlard)

The Walking Dead #121
The Walking Dead #121

Kirkman’s still got it!!  More than 10 years and going strong!!  The first half of the year was so-so with the conclusion of the All Out War arc.  It was intense that’s for sure, but it was slightly formulaic.  Then came the New Beginning arc, and it blew my face away.  If you can call Kirkman anything, it’s unpredictable!  I buy issue after issue after issue primarily because I NEED to know what happens next!  The undead and the yet-to-be dead have found a happy equilibrium (if you can call it that).  Times are good, but a new foe has reared its head.  And that’s how we know shit is about to do down in a big way.  This constant torrential storm of calm and chaos brings with it an unshakable endearing quality.  I’m a nervous and sweaty wreck in the midst of any conflict or life-threatening situation (which is pretty much all the time) and I’m even more nervous and sweaty when nothing’s happening.  And all I want is more.  Because reading TWD is essentially an addiction now. – Taylor

RUNNER UP – Black Science (Remender/Scalera)

Black Science Book Best of 2014
Black Science #5

 

First, have you seen the art in this book? Oh my God, it’s good. It’s like something fell out of the ’60s and into the 2060s, then trickled back down to lowly 2014. Second, the story – on the surface it doesn’t seem like much. In fact, it even seems like it’d be hard to take seriously: a scientist builds a machine to visit alternate worlds, it malfunctions, and his team gets stuck. It seems like yet another variation on a story we’ve read a hundred times before, but like all great stories, character makes it stand out. Layers of intrigue slowly emerge: maybe characters aren’t as noble as they seem. Was the machine sabotaged? Why are his children (not even old enough to drive) with him? Did I mention the art? – JH

Next Category: Best Story Arc

Comic Book Reviews 10-29-14

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:

black science 10 potw

Black Science #10 – A

What’s cooler than a laser beam spitting, flying hippo-dragon cruising into the horizon of multiple setting suns against the backdrop of the most geologically unfathomable mountain range you’ve ever seen?!  If you somehow have an answer for that, you sure as Hell better tell me in the comments section below, because I can’t think of anything!  Thanks again Matteo Scalera for making love to my eyes.  The events in Black Science are building up to something dimension shattering – literally.  Though it appears the formula is repeating itself, I’ve got a feeling that Remender is just leading us on.  I wouldn’t be surprised if in the Dimensionauts’ next jump this crazy adventure gets turned up another notch.  If nothing else, we’ll at least get to see the laser-ninja shaman in action again! – Taylor

Other Reviews: 

Dark Horse:

Alien: Fire & Stone #2 – B

I’m surprised.  The Fire & Stone storyline is already 6 issues deep and in each new release the plot deepens and new elements continue to pop up.  Each issue has left me on the edge of my seat and slack jawed.  I said it last time and I’ll say it this time:  The Fire & Stone story is possibly the best interwoven multi-titled comic arch I’ve ever read.  Each story element is solid in delivery.  The characters are engaging, the intrigue and creepy factor are out of this world, there are twists galore, and… just… everything is great!  There is plenty of this story left to tell and so many questions left to answer.  It makes me so happy to know that this thrill ride isn’t even halfway over. – Taylor

DC/Vertigo:

Earth 2: World’s End #4 – B-

This issue finally kind of settled down and focused on two groups of heroes, giving little time to what else is going on. I appreciated this, as this series was starting to get a bit jumbled. We’re introduced to a new character and get to see Apokolips and his crew. I still have no idea why we’re getting Dick Grayson’s story as nothing really seems to be happening there. One thing I have learned in the last week is that the World’s End story is going to have huge implications for the Futures End story happening on normal Earth. I know, I know, I probably should have known this, but, I didn’t…this also explains a lot about why it has been so spastic until now. That being said, this series is definitely more enjoyable than most Futures End stories and hopefully it will bring something fresh to what has become very stale. – Cody

Wonder Woman #35 – C-

The epic finale of Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang’s Wonder Woman 35-issue arc is the least epic finale that I could have hoped for. Over the past three years, Wonder Woman has rewrote Diana’s lore as a bastard child of Zeus himself. She has transformed into the Goddess of War, slugged it out with the other gods and faced off with Zeus’ First Born. So it’s extremely disappointed that such a well-told and carefully-crafted could come to such a screeching halt. It’s hastily wrapped up and the overall message is convoluted with just a few pages in this issue. It in no ways taints my memory of the 34 issues that preceded it, but I’m not heart-broken that we get an all new creative team starting next month. – Sherif

Sinestro #6 – D

On its own, this month’s issue of Sinestro is pretty good.  Sinestro and his fear mongering Corps. are still ruthless and very entertaining to watch in battle.  The pencil and ink-work is still on point.  Sinestro is still crazy powerful and super scary.  The thing that killed it for me this month is the thing I dislike most about comic books – abrupt and total change in plot.  I see this more often with the major publishers and with superhero characters.  Story lines from other comic books work their way into “related” titles and (for me) it only serves as a major buzz kill and disappointment.  What happened to Sinestro’s frozen brethren?  Who is this lamely named warrior Goddess and where did she come from?  Is Hal Jordan still pouting on that rock after getting his ass handed to him?  I was really feeling Sinestro thus far, but I have hard time forgiving such grandiose inconsistencies. – Taylor

IDW Comics:

Cartoon Network Super Secret Crisis War #5 – B+

This series has continued to amaze me every week in how well they mix these character together and have them work so well. This week we see things finally moving forward for the good guys as the bad guys are not getting along and it seems to be breaking them apart. They are about to blow up one of the characters worlds which isn’t revealed until the end, but will the heroes be able to save this earth and all the other universes earths? Will any bad guys actually help the heroes? Well, in great Saturday morning cartoon fashion, we wont find out until the exciting conclusion next month but we get an idea of what may happen. This series is filled with nostalgia and nerdy humor for those who watched any of these shows and offers us more material from franchises we loved which we felt we may never see again. – Jacob

Image Comics:

Saga #24 – A-

(A) In all my years, I don’t think I have ever heard the phrase “stick it in my spinneret.” Saga continues to push the boundaries and introduce new and fantastical elements to an already complex and multi-faceted story. There has not been one moment where I’ve said to myself, “This is just like…” Dream team Brian K Vaughan and Fiona Staples introduce several new characters in this issue, as well as reacquaint us with several more, reminding us just how deep this story can be. Saga is a one-of-a-kind adventure that will have you laughing, gasping and losing yourself in, issue after issue. – Sherif

(B) Flip to page 17 of this month’s issue of Saga… Got that image burned into your brain?  Good!  Let this now everlasting burn be your eternal reminder of how great this series is.  Contemporary media based entertainment nowadays much too frequently lacks originality and genuine creativity.  Stepping outside the realm of comic books for just a second, think of the last 3 movies you went to see.  I’m willing to bet my Saga collection that at least one of those movies was a sequel, remake, or a “based-on” work.  Brian Vaughan and Fiona Staples are the antithesis to this notion.  The story these two creative geniuses have put together rival any story (comic book or otherwise) I’ve experienced in the last 3 years – maybe more.  I can’t urge strongly enough to those who haven’t been following this series the pure enjoyment and gratification waiting for you in Saga.  If you appreciate originality as much as I do, then I command you to read Saga! – Taylor

Rasputin #1 – B

The use of red wine though the first panels is captivating and manipulates the eye to only look at what it wants you to look at. Red, overall, is used through the book to highlight certain moments in different way. Always, in one way or another a life force, the imagery holds fast. The is stark dialogue ramps up the emotional weight of the story. The images are rather jarring and have an intense punch to the gut. Much of the dialogue in the bubbles are replaced with images, such as, a skull in the dialogue bubble instead of words. The effect is haunting. I have always been utterly fascinated by Rasputin and glad someone is taking a crack at his story. If you like the occult and Rasputin like me, you’ll enjoy this book. – Jené

Roche Limit #2 – B

I love how this story goes back and forth between the scientist who set up this new world and the development of the story. Its one part existential crises, one part murder mystery. Cosmic and myopic in the same breath. And yet, both stories are the same and play off one another a sort of cosmic tapestry where all actions and reaction interplay with one another. One person story affects the larger level of the reality. I dig. Also, it’s just pretty, I get lost in the artwork still sometimes forsaking the story. Little less annoyed with the logistics of the story compared to the last book. It’s rounding out and I’m pulled in such a way I wish I had several books to binge read instead of the slow serial reveal. – Jené

Cutter #4 – F

Well, the Cutter miniseries has come to end and may I just say, thank god for that – what a cliché, unoriginal and overall unwelcome storyline. The conclusion in issue #4 offered literally nothing of interest and I kind of hate myself for reading it. What I’m sure was intended to be a shocking ending is extremely played out and I can think of at least three things off the top of my head that offer the same twist of a family member out for revenge for their victimized loved one (Prom Night, I Still Know What You Did Last Summer, basically every movie…) I feel bad being so harsh, but honestly the Cutter series felt way too drawn out (in only four issues, mind you), completely unoriginal and frankly boring. The characters were weak and easily forgettable and the writing felt phoned in. I’m not sure writers Robert Napton and Seamus Kevin Fahey even gave a shit what happened by the end of it. As a reader, I sure didn’t. Cutter felt lazy and like it was written by people that know nothing about horror and the conclusion of the story only confirmed that for me. Oh, and what I can only assume was supposed to be a “deep” final panel can kiss my ass. I get it, the cycle continues as long as there are people who are too weak to stand up for what’s right. Your social commentary isn’t scary and it only makes me hate you more. Overall, Cutter was worth avoiding, and a huge disappointment. – Keriann

Marvel:

Death of Wolverine: Deadpool & Captain America #1 – A-

Personally a Deadpool and Captain America team-up sounds wonderful, but then you add that it is the old Steve Rogers and it makes for the best thing to come out of the Death of Wolverine storyline and off shoots yet. In this we see Deadpool and Steve Rogers teaming up to collect any DNA of Logan/Wolverine so that nobody can clone him or use it for evil purposes. Although the underlying story is about this we actually get quite a good character study of both Deadpool and Captain America in this, showcasing sides of them only Wolverine had seen and helped them with. The ending of it had me a bit worried as to what will happen next, as I am sure any reader will understand and don’t want to give too much away, but I have a feeling it will all work itself out. Although the typical Deadpool humor is still there (seeing Steve Rogers respond to each joke Deadpool makes on whether he got the reference or not was quite funny) but we get a more drama heavy book here but with that we get a story that finally offers us something worthwhile in this never-ending Death of Wolverine saga. – Jacob

Death of Wolverine: The Logan Legacy #3 – C-

This week The Logan Legacy covers Sabretooth and his story about Wolverine, and oh, what a completely messed up story it is. Not much has come from the Death of Wolverine event that has been outstanding, even though I have enjoyed it all, but this does not change that as even though it is a entertaining story, it is one that ultimately seemed way off course and mostly just an avenue to show Sabretooth killing lots of people. This issue definitely gives you an idea in how fucked up Sabretooth really is as we see what he did right after Wolverines death and it was not very nice at all. The next issue is going to cover Lady Deathstrike and I have always felt she was one of Wolverine’s best villains, so hopefully we can get a worthwhile story from her and not be a rather unmeaningful story like the last two have been. – Jacob

Deathlok #1 – C-

As first issues goes, this book really isn’t all that impressive or captivating. Hays is living a double live as a secret operative and a single father. That was all that was really established in this book besides a lot of fighting bad guys that seem more like civilian casualties. Deathlok is being used to some nefarious ends he’s unaware of, or so it appears. Everyone needs some fluff in their life, but I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone. Still, I am curious about how the story will play out and the relationship between him and his daughter. At the moment the story is more action plot than character development. – Jené

All-New X-Men #33 – D

Between DC and Marvel, there is just too much “alternate universe” crap going on. Here, some mysterious all-powerful mutant girl got flustered, sneezed, and sent everybody to a different universe. Okay, where are the hidden cameras? Joke’s over guys… While the prospect of these guys ending up in different universes is intriguing, and the humor is on-point as per usual, I just can’t see this storyline being unique enough to wade through the whole thing for. Each issue keeps getting shorter, but it doesn’t help me stay interested. Best to just wait for this arc to end before jumping on the bandwagon. – Sherif

Axis: Revolutions #1 – F

I’m sorry folks, but this book did absolutely nothing for me. The first half was just some morality story as told by Spider-Man (ugh…) and the rest featured Doctor Strange (UGH….); all of the magic talk made him sound ridiculous and reminded me of Ron Burgundy on more than one occasion. Save your time! – Cody

 

Oni Press:

Ciudad #1 – D

What do you get when you take Denzel Washington from Man On Fire and Russell Crowe from Proof Of Life, mix them together and throw the character into the chaos of the drug-infested streets of modern day Mexico? Ciudad is what you get! Just in case the previously listed movies draw an involuntary “WTF?” from your lips, Ciudad’s main character is an extractor. A man with James Bond-like skills paid to return the kidnapped to freedom from those wicked and evil enough to attempt to ransom them off. Are you salivating yet? I wasn’t but, different strokes for different folks, right?! The first thing that grabbed me when I opened Ciudad was the art, which is, sad to say, downright poor. From it’s quality to it’s color (Ciudad is completely black and white) it’s leaves you with that lackluster feeling that only bad CGI in a B movie can engender. This is an issue that could have really benefited from color, and that’s not to say that there aren’t some panels that are breath taking (cause a few are magnificent), but the art as a whole takes away from the book. There’s nearly no character development, and what little there is leaves you wanting. Like a twinkie without the cream you’re wondering, where’s the filling? I will say, the action is well done. The language used is very immersive and the action keeps you engaged with brutal yet instinctive violence. It’s just not enough. Ciudad reminds me of Steven Segal. There’s not a lot of substance, and it’s not much to look at, but it can kick some ass from time to time. So open an issue if you’re feeling froggy but like the crime congested streets in Ciudad, enter at your own risk. – Zach

 

Funniest Panel:

Death of Wolverine: Deadpool & Captain America #1 funny panel
Death of Wolverine: Deadpool & Captain America #1

 

Panel with the Most Awesomeness:

Wonder Woman #35 Awesome panel
Wonder Woman #35

 

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.

Comic Book Reviews 04-30-14

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:

Funny Panel 5-2-14

Amazing Spider-Man #1 – A

Welcome back, Peter Parker! This week has been the best for Spider-Man. Peter has just got his bearings back as the web crawler and he is happy as ever to be back in the driver’s seat of his own life – even if he has no idea what happened during Otto’s reign as the Superior Spider-Man. There’s a lot of fallout here, and while some of it is explained to new readers, the point of this issue is to sit back and let the experience flow over you. There’s plenty of time to catch up to how messed up Otto left things in his stead, but for now, enjoy this love letter to your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. – Sherif

Talk about getting things started off with a bang! I really enjoyed Superior Spider and the changes that Doc Ock brought to Peter Parker’s character, but I never realized how much I missed the genuinely hilarious humor until this issue. This issue had me laughing almost from start to finish. It should be interesting to see how his not knowing what happened while he was gone will make for some interesting and surely hilarious situations. It is hinted at that he may have to dig into the mind of Octavius to gather some information about the last few months so that could potentially be interesting. The other big unknown is Dr. Ock’s girlfriend that he was living with and left behind. I don’t see how she could ever replace Mary Jane but I don’t see any reason for Peter not to at least give it a shot. I figure that she will figure out he isn’t the same person and they will end up splitting up. This issue was amazing and surprisingly a good jumping in point for new readers as the beginning gives a small history lesson. – Robert

For the return of Peter Parker this comic was just okay; in the book’s defense, I haven’t read any of Superior, so the subtleties are lost on me. I like the fact that Peter is trying to figure out all that happened while he was gone and that so much of his life has changed; however, I have no idea what direction this comic is going. In my opinion, there was nothing wrong about the comic, it told a decent story, brought back Spider-Man in classic Spidey fashion, some good ol’ web slinging action, but there was no kick. No punch, no defining moment to bring it all together. Still it was a good read, and I would like to continue to see Peter Parker continue on his journey back to life. – Evan

Other Reviews:

Dark Horse Comics:

Serenity: Leaves on the Wind #4 – B+

The fourth issue of this series is filled with references to the show and film from past characters to Wash’s dinosaurs in the cockpit. In this issue we see River dreaming and figuring out there were many others imprisoned inside the laboratory she was tested on. After this happens, Jubal Early knocks nearly everyone out and ties them up but Kaylee shows up and knocks him out with a wrench. Once everything is back to normal they drop Jubal out on a planet and continue to the Lab but they have to stop and sadly team up with the Operative from the film because he is the only person who can help them get into the lab. Meanwhile while all this is happening, Zoe is throw into a prison and kicks the crap out of a fellow prisoner (it’s about time we saw her be her normal awesome self) before he beats the crap out of another person. The crew gets to the lab and right as they make it to the door a ship shows up and Jubal seems to distract and fight off these guards while River and the crew fight their way into the lab where the scientist who tested on River is waiting. He compliments, insults and says all sorts of stuff to them only to release the other girls he tested on and finished before River warns everyone to run. This series is just great for anyone who was a fan of the series and movie but can definitely see how anyone who had not seen either would be totally lost; although, I am not sure why you would read this series if you had not seen either. – Jacob

V-Wars #1 – C+

A world war against a fabled monster? The actual title? If this doesn’t scream World War Z rip-off, then I don’t know what will. There are some different plot points, most pronounced being that the vampires are sentient, and that there is a bigger conspiracy to fuel the war with the living and the undead. I wouldn’t call this a total loss; the art and the explicit story carried my interest through the whole issue, but I see this being much more of a guilty pleasure read than the next big thing. – Sherif

DC/Vertigo:

Forever Evil Aftermath: Batman vs Bane #1 – A-

Well, the big DC event, Forever Evil, is drawing to a close – except, the final issuehasn’t been published. I guess we can assume that the JL takes care of business and Batman returns home to Gotham to clean up the mess. Only thing is, Bane has actually been doing a good job of it. He took out the trash and now has a legion of Talons patrolling the streets. However, this is Batman’s house. We get a good old fashion ass-kicking between Bane and the Bats, in all its onomatopoeic splendor. The one-shot wasn’t supposed to be much more than the signal that the Bat is back in town. – Sherif

Batman: Eternal #4 – B+

Four issues in and Eternal is building a complex story, and doing it without having to bounce off of several other Bat-titles. The pre-Batman side of Gotham – the corruption and scandal in the justice system are coming out of the woodwork now that Jim Gordon is locked up. It’s a scary and uncertain time, and even though Batman thinks he has things under control, the looming danger is not good for anybody. I really like the appearance of Bagirl here, too, and to see her clash with the Dark Knight makes my stomach drop. This series continues to impress. – Sherif

The thought of Commissioner Gordon being locked up in Blackgate makes me both worried and excited at the same time. I’m worried because I can’t recall a time where he was ever killed and this could be a perfect time to do it. I get excited thinking about it because he was former special forces and I think it would be a cool opportunity to show just how much of a badass he actually is. He wouldn’t have to hold back the way a typical officer would so we could show some potentially badass scenes of him beating up multiple inmates or thwarting assassination attempts. The plot with Batgirl spiraling out of control seems almost too cliché so I hope they have something else planned for that. Batman is business as usual which means that they have something planned to turn that upside down shortly. – Robert

Things are getting juicy. With Batgirl on the case to search for who set up her father, things are going to get very messy and/or fantastic. However, can she do it fast enough to keep her father alive seeing that he has a new home at Blackgate? This is a solid story and I can’t wait to see more. So many different things are happening with Batman and Falcone, the Penguin, Pyg, Gordon, the G.C.P.D. and so much more it’s all very exciting. I think this next issue will be something special and I cannot wait to see what becomes of Gordon. – Evan

The Flash Annual #3 – B

The Flash is really gaining some traction. After the largely successful Flashpoint arc in 2011 and news of his own CW show, the third Annual kicks off a pretty intense arc. Switching between the present and twenty years in the future, Annual #3 gives us our first New 52 Wally West (who some may remember as the Flash in the Justice League cartoon). The future that Flash finds himself in, who is blue in color and seemingly unstable from decades of abusing the Speed Force, is a dark one in which future Barry Allen must cross a certain line with Gorilla Grodd. If you haven’t been sold on The Flash series, then this issue should push you right over the fence. – Sherif

IDW Comics:

X-Files: Season 10 #11- A

This is the type of X-Files I remember! Although it involves Saudi Arabia and terrorists blowing up a oil refinery, this is the type of mystery, who dun-it type of story that encompassed the series so well. In this issue we see Mulder and Scully visiting Saudi Arabia because of a weird case and instantly Mulder thinks things are fishy because of the footage they show him of the incident. He of course sends it to the trusty Lone Gunmen and as they analyze it they figure out a mysterious figure appears out of nowhere after an explosion. Scully goes to visit the hospital that is holding the people who were injured in the incident and is quickly rushed out of one room when she then pulls a fire alarm and goes into another where another injured man is who tells her a man blew everything up. We go back to Mulder who was talking to the Lone Gunmen in a computer lab when he notices men behind who start shooting at him and as he flees he jumps out of window and a s he lands a man is standing there who knows who he is and tells him not to do it making Mulder wonder who he is. The man lowers his scarf and it is Krychek, whom if you watched the show you know as one of the main antagonists along with The Cigarette Smoking Man. This leads me to wonder where this new arc is leading and it will likely be one where if you have not read any of the rest of this series, this is a good place to start. – Jacob

Dexter’s Laboratory #1- B

It is great to see new Dexter’s Laboratory in any capacity, but IDW is turning almost all of Genndy Tartakovsky’s classic cartoons into comics, which is great for me. This short run of Dexter’s Lab is all about Dexter finding out a way to finally get rid of Dee Dee. It starts with him having a whole planned out morning to have his intelligence increased to the maximum amount possible, with Dee Dee out for her dance recital, Dexter thinks he is safe to start his experiment but then Dee Dee shows up right before he starts because she forgot her shoes and she of course destroys everything. This infuriates Dexter and he wishes he was an only child which gives him an idea for an invention to grant wishes. He then waits until bedtime and uses his invention and both his and Dee Dee’s rooms light up and then To Dee Continued… This is definitely going to be an enjoyable series helping to lead up to the giant crossover event of all the Cartoon Network shows that IDW is planning and Much like Powerpuff Girls, Samurai Jack and Rocky and Bullwinkle IDW is bring back childhood nostalgia like crazy. – Jacob

Image Comics:

Black Science #6 – A-

This issue marks the end of the first arc in Rick Remender’s Black Science, and damn is it good. The story has been going at breakneck speed since the first panel, and wraps up with literally no room to catch your breath. Remender has slowly been feeding us background information on the major conspiracy, but with the crazy turn of events at the end of this issue, there are limitless possibilities as to where this story will go from now on. – Sherif

Southern Bastards #1 – B+

Jason Aaron, the guy who brought us Amazing X-Men and Wolverine and the X-Men, returns to give us Southern Bastards, a tale about a man who returns to his hometown forty years after his daddy, the town Sheriff, died. He immediately finds out that the town is not what it was; it’s now controlled by a man who goes by the name Coach Boss and some type of Confederate gang. There’s a fair amount of mystery around it, but there is enough here to make me want to buy the next issue. I mean, any book that begins with a dog taking a shit screams gold, right? – Sherif

Dream Police #1 – B+

What is happening?!?! I have no idea but I think it’s awesome. There is so much happening and so many components to this dream world. Dream Police, architects, shifters, nightmares, all of this is just crazy. I’ll be honest, I’ll probably have to re-read this comic several times to fully understand what is going on. Nevertheless, I think the concept is awesome, almost Matrix-like. Dream police that are supposed to make sure people dreams go the way they are supposed to, seems like a heavy job but Joe and Frank…or Katie…or whoever make it look easy. This comic is very interesting to me and for those who have a wild imagination, this one is for you. – Evan

Deadly Class #3 – B-

Deadly Class continues to impress me. Even though this issue wasn’t as action-packed or full of violence, it has some really great story-telling and character development. It’s obvious what is happening to Marcus mentally after what he did in the last issue; however, there are still so many mysteries surrounding his new life and what will become of it. The way the story is told through the eyes of a drugged up kid who claims to be the “Acid King” then instantly regrets it, allows us to see what sort of mind-frame Marcus is in. And I love it! Still a big fan of this comic and can’t wait to see what comes next. – Evan

Marvel:

All-New X-Men #26 – B+

As the team regroups from the events in The Trial of Jean Grey, we get some great introspection of Jean Grey and an awkwardly fruitful conversation between her and the present day Scott Summers. It was like a Dear John letter for all the long-time X-Men fans out there. Artist Stuart Immomen and his team put together one of the most beautiful issues All-New X-Men has seen thus far, and the cliff-hanger we leave on is an instant sell for the next issue. – Sherif

Wolverine #5 – C+

This issue was basically filler – which is fine because we are starting a new arc – but I was hoping for a little more in terms of content. We do, however, get a few new facts about Logan this issue. We find out that he is being poisoned by the Adamantium in his body and now he has a tattoo of a Rose on his arm. It is hinted that there is a deeper meaning to the rose but is never actually stated explicitly. I’m not sure if we are supposed to know or not but I am sure they will point out exactly what it means eventually. I’m curious to see whether or not the tattoo will stay when his powers inevitably return. It seems this is really just the beginning of a new arc so we shall see where things will go from here but the writing has gotten steadily better since the start and hopefully will continue the pattern from here on out. – Robert

Hulk #2 – D+

This series seems to be rather bland as it is going on. After the first issue it was kind of exciting to fantasize about what would happen to Hulk when he is smarter than Bruce Banner now. But after this issue it seems like nobody in this book knows what is going on. Although I still love Hulk and will read this series to see where it goes, it is definitely one of the weaker series for this character so far. In this issue whoever shot and kidnapped Banner revives Abomination and sends him out to find Banner. Maria Hill starts ripping into Bruce Banner when she finds out Abomination is coming so he can turn into Hulk and as soon as Abomination shows up. A huge fight ensues and everyone flees but one dumb local guy who argues with Maria Hill until some weird robots show up and are about to shoot down both of them. So not a whole much happened in this book to further the story itself but we got to see Hulk fight for the first time and maybe Abomination will have just as much brain damage as Bruce Banner or something… – Jacob

They said in Tropic Thunder that you never go full retard but that is exactly what has happened here. Why they thought that taking one of the most brilliant minds of the Marvel universe and turning him into the retarded character Ben Stiller played in that movie was a good idea is beyond me. I can’t even begin to imagine how they are going to repair his mind but they had better do it quickly because retard Bruce Banner getting mad at a sandwich container and destroying a whole town isn’t going to hold anyone’s interest for very long. If Barbara Gordon can walk again then Bruce Banner should be creating his Bannertech in no time. – Robert

Man, this comic just kind of sucks. And that is coming from a Hulk fan. Personally I think the story is pretty stupid, and it just doesn’t play as something exciting or interesting. Bruce Banner with brain damage is simply Bruce Banner who acts like he is five and it all is just dumb, dumb, dumb. And it makes me sad. The only thing about this comic that keeps me going is that I want to know who did this to Banner. But the story, the action, the “mystery” that ended this issue just has no substance to me. I hope and pray that this comic will get better, but I do not have high hopes for it. – Evan

Origin II #5 – D

I can’t help but wonder what the hell the purpose of this whole sequel to the original Origin was really for. I guessed a few reviews ago that it would show the start of the feud between Sabertooth and Wolverine and it appears that was exactly what they decided to do here. Sabertooth is a central character to the Wolverine mythos, especially lately, but I don’t really feel like they did a great job showing the beginning of a feud that lasts a few centuries. I don’t think they introduced a conflict big enough to hate someone for over a hundred years. I mean it is borderline ridiculous to think that someone could hate someone so much, over a woman no less, that either would devote the next few hundred years of their life trying to make the others life hell. This is especially true for Wolverine seeing as how he has had numerous other lovers that he has loved arguably even more than this chick. All that being said, this entire series felt like a wasted opportunity that doesn’t even begin to stand up to the original. This should have been renamed something else as opposed to being the sequel to one of his greatest storylines. – Robert

I’m really disappointed with the way this mini-series ended. Matter of fact, aside from a solid #1, I’m disappointed in everything about it. Aside from a few stand-out panels, there was nothing about this story that drew me in. The attempt to capitalize on the success of Origin failed mightily, and you’re probably better off skipping this entire installment. – Sherif

 

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.

Comic Book Reviews 04-02-14

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:

Magneto #2 – A

“Magneto was right.” This is quickly becoming one of my favorite titles. Gabriel Herandez Walta captured something special while illustrating this book. We find Magneto in search of Omega Sentinels, killing all in his path. When he discovers that the homeless are being kidnapped and biologically altered to hunt mutants he has a flashback to Warsaw,1942. The flashback panels are brilliant. I literally got chills reading those pages. We find yet another catalyst for Magneto’s anger when it is revealed that his friend, Levi Weinlaub, and family suffered at the hands of Hilter’s Nazis. When in the company of humans Magneto refers to himself as Max in this book. As a child, Max Eisenhardt was sent to the Auschwitz death camp. He changed his name to Eric Lehnsherr to navigate through the camp to be closer to his true love, a gypsy girl named Magda.  As Max he was weak and fragile. This is interesting because it appears as if he is identifying himself as the powerless. This book flowed well, and the reader can follow along with minimal backstory. OMG, the scene with the nails is a MUST SEE! Magneto’s new purpose seems to be focused on righting the wrongs of the past. I give this title an emphatic two thumbs up!  – JS

Marvel has finally found Magneto’s voice in the new Marvel.NOW world. He’s broken-down, tired, and fucking ruthless; this isn’t your father’s Magneto. The best part is, his powers aren’t even back to full strength – a point that serves to show just how frighteningly powerful he is. Magneto‘s writer Cullen Bunn does a commendable job on this book. We’ve started off with different accounts of Magnus Meltdowns, just to add to the effect that this guy is absolutely terrifying, and it works so well. I also love the flashbacks to Nazi Germany and how it turned Erik into a monster. This book has shot straight up my list of favorites, and I can’t wait to see where this book takes us. – S

Other Reviews:

BOOM! Studios:

Dead Letters #1 – B-

A man wakes up in a shady motel room and remembers nothing.  Not his name, not how he got there, not even what he had for lunch.  The one thing he does remember is that he’s no stranger to violence or action.  Sounds totally Bourne Identity, right?  Dead Letters #1 certainly starts out that way but ends in M. Night Shyamalan fashion.  I’m talking The Six Sense Shyamalan… Not the The Happening version.  Had it not been for this crazy twist, I would have just as soon written this series off.  This is one to keep your eye on; its’ bound to surprise and entertain. – T

Dark Horse Comics:

Terminator Salvation: The Final Battle #5 – B+

This issue was loaded with nostalgic moments from the history of the series. We actually get to see the original terminator being sent back along with Kyle Reese being sent back as well. There are obviously a few changes that have been made due to the continuity having changed. It seems as though everything is still going according to plan but with a slight twist. There are few variables that are going to change how we get to the end, but ultimately it should turn out similar to the explanations we are given in the film. With each issue that passes, I get more and more excited to find out how everything comes to an end. – R

Veil #2 – B-

The crazy lady with the weird powers is back. Dante is still stuck in the middle of it all, trying to play protector to some weird bio-weapon lady. There are some new elements that open up possibilities, but it ends up creating more questions than it does answering. I love the direction that the series is going in, even if it’s a tad creepy. The art is soft and the color art is crazy good. There’s something about a woman who mutilates sexual assaulters that really intrigues me – call me old-fashioned. There’s a difference between stalling and feeding the story to the readers, and Veil is doing a great job of the latter. – S

Edgar Allen Poe’s The Premature Burial C

This one-shot comic combines two of Edgar Allen Poe’s tales, including The Premature Burial and The Cask of Amontillado. Both of these stories seem to be told by an original character named Mag the Hag. With anything by Edgar Allen Poe, you are assured a very dark and demented story filled with nasty people and often times nasty deaths. These two stories are nothing short of classic Poe and the artwork provide for them add to the already creepy nature of the short stories. The first story, The Premature Burial, follows a man who tries to kill a woman and desecrate her corpse only to end up finding the end he tried to produce for the woman in being buried alive. The second story, The Cask of Amontillado, is about a man who is taking a woman down to his vaults to tell her why her husband has been missing for years only to tell her that he killed him and trapped him in a wall. After he has told the woman of his actions and she runs off, the man dies himself next to the man he trapped so many years ago. Definitely two creepy stories and a must have issue for any Poe fan. If you do not know Poe’s work you may find this a little off putting as the stories are very dark and the artwork even made me shiver once of twice. – JR

DC/Vertigo:

Batman: Detective Comics #30 – B+

Oh, the wonders of a new creative team. After GothtopiaDetective Comics‘ latest arc, the series was running on fumes. It had lost its flavor and much of its audience. However, this new creative team of Brian Buccellato (writing) and Francis Manapul (art) has breathed new life into the series. We start the Icarus arc with big panel art and some sweet action scenes of Batman. It looks like Batman will be taking on a street drug that sets people on fire! Like, full-blown Richard Pryor. I’m curious to see if they go back to Bat’s roots or will fall back on some big baddie to carry the arc. I’m hoping that the series takes some risk and starts all over, because more of this and I’ll be addicted. – S

Trillium #8 – B

This was the final issue of Jeff Lemire’s Trillium. There was a lot of confusion leading up to this issue, and I was unsure of how Lemire was going to wrap it up. I suppose it wasn’t as confusing as I made it out to be, because it’s wrapped up in the first ten pages. However, the main focus of the story is of the romance of Nika and Billy. We get more heartbreak and despair, too. Lemire really brings his A game with the art; there are several full-page panels that really make the book. Overall, Trillium made less sense than I wanted it to, but it took me on a fantastical journey to show us that we are not alone in this universe. – S

Green Arrow #30 – B

Things have begun to get a little crazy with the second to last issue of The Outsider Wars. The mystery of Oliver Queens’s death from last issue was solved and I must say that I was pretty surprised with how they pulled it off. I don’t particularly like the way that they ended this issue though. They spent all this time with the buildup to only abruptly end things in what can only be described as unsatisfying. Of course nothing is final seeing how the last issue ended and this one begins. The art for the whole Outsider War has left much to be desired as far as I’m concerned but it certainly isn’t the worst art I’ve ever seen. I am more interested to see what is coming next after this whole war as opposed to the end of this particular story arc. – R

Aquaman and the Others #1 – D

This has got to be the lamest bunch superheroes I have ever seen. So far, I haven’t seen a single interesting thing about any of The Others. I actually didn’t even know they were a team until last week. The art just as great as the regular Aquaman book, but it still can’t save the bland characters with almost no unique personalities. This issue also felt extremely short and there was barely any buildup to whatever story arc they are beginning. They barely took the time to properly introduce the main cast with each getting a few pages and absolutely no backstory. I don’t know where they are going with this publication but I am willing to give it ten issues before I kick it to the curb – if it lasts that long. – R

IDW Comics:

Monster and Madmen C+

In the second part of this three-issue series, we learn a little more about the Madman, Jack the Ripper, and his intentions. We see Frankenstein’s monster wander off around the city trying to figure out what has happened since he awoke and he becomes enthralled with the people and buildings around the city. All is fine and he is going around unnoticed until a prostitute offer him her services and the horrified and horrifying look he gives her makes her scream in fear causing people to chase him only for him to find his way back to the Doctor who saved him from the beach in the first issue. We learn this man is Joh Moore and that he has an almost unhealthy obsession with the Monster. Dr. Moore offer the Monster his home and tells him that if he stays and lets him examine him that he will make the Monster a companion to help heal his lonely heart. After the Monster agrees to stay we see the Doctor go out on the town and pick up a woman whom we can only assume will receive the wraith we all know Jack the Ripper is known for. A very entertaining and artistically entertaining series continues to put a good twist on two famous stories. Anybody who enjoys either story or monster movies in general will enjoy this issue and hopefully in the next and last issue we will have a good wrap up of the series. – JR

Image Comics:

Black Science #5 – A

Just when you thought a story involving multidimensional travel to interwoven layers of realities and universes couldn’t get more complex, Black Science #5 enters the scene to roundhouse kick you to the face.  One of the best kicks I’ve ever received.  A whole new dynamic enters the plot this week and it breathes vibrant life into an already thriving series.  Remender knows what he’s doing.  I really applaud the way he drops a new and compounded concept on readers without making it confusing or seem out of place.  On par with the plot is still the artwork – environments are so intricately detailed!  Everything about this series is well managed and super creative. If you haven’t started, please pretty PLEASE start reading Black Science. – T

’68 Rule of War #1 – A

I really enjoyed this issue. With a familiar, yet new take on the world of zombies, this story has some interesting twists to it. I really was interested in this story from the get go, with the mystery behind what is happening and the various stories lines I could see crossing paths, I’m happy I got the chance to read this new book and I look forward to future issues. If you get a chance to read this book or you are a big zombie fan, check it out for sure. – E

Marvel:

Moon Knight #2 – A

I’ve been reviewing comics for a very short time now, but I’m finally starting to hit my groove.  Know how?  I’ve discovered my first real pet-peeve with comics!  It’s when issue #2 drops and it’s everything that should have been issue #1!!  Moon Knight #2 hits this mark square in the face.  I guess in the way of pet-peeves, this is a good one to have.  People – if you were only mildly impressed by Moon Knight #1 (like me) be sure to shake the feeling and grab a copy of #2 right now!  Panel to panel, this issue was flat out awesome.  The outstanding quality of #2 resides in the fact that no major or significant plot development occur.  There’s almost no dialogue and you don’t really know what’s happening until the end.  You might read those last few sentences and think I’m on crack.  Rest assured – I only sniff magic (markers).  The story is a one-and-done, but is executed flawlessly and is visually stunning the whole way through.  I can now start buying into the hype that Moon Knight is a keeper.  – T

Ultimate Spider-Man #200 – A-

If you have been following Ultimate Spider-Man, you know that the Ultimate Peter Parker has been dead for two years (SPOILER!). This issue, more than anything, is a love letter to Peter Parker and all the iterations of his kind. As all the big names come back for a wake in Parker’s honor, we get a recap of all the crazy adventures they went through together. It was really neat to get an inside look at how others felt about their relationship with Spider-Man, and does a solid job of explaining all the characters and relationships you may not know. If you’re not a Spider-Man fan – or you lack a heart – it can bore you. However, the full page spreads of various Spider-Men is something to behold. By the time you’re done reading this, you will have had a great session in nostalgia, or you will go buy the entire catalog of Ultimate Spider-Man. – S

The Punisher #4 – B+

I really like this entire arc of the Punisher. It is action-packed, stays true to the character, and has a story-line that is intriguing enough to keep me entertained. With moderate story progression this week, I can’t put much effort into figuring out what is brewing; however, I hope it will be exciting. This book is fun to read, and I really do enjoy reading this comic. – E

Black Widow #5 – B-

After four issues of what could be considered one-shots, the fifth issue is finally able to build a continuous story. The idea that a spy should trust her gut over intel rings true for Natasha, as it gets her into one sticky situation. Phil Noto’s art, as always, is worth the price of admission alone. I like that the story is finally moving forward, but I can’t help but feel that, five issues in, the book has lost a bit of its luster to me. It will take some really good story-telling to pull me back in the way I originally felt about it. That being said, an espionage book written about an Avenger is enough of an original idea to get me to keep reading, and Natasha Romanov is one of the most bad-ass characters in the Marvel world. Let’s hope this snowball keeps rolling downhill. – S

Loki: Agent of Asgard #3 – B-

I thought the story that was being told was pretty cool. I have a pretty good idea of where this story is going, but it is really nice to see how Loki is manipulating things for the purpose to gain his objective. I really liked the way the story is told in this issue. With most of it being a narrative, I felt like I was watching a movie about major or even a fairy tale, and honestly, that wouldn’t be far off from the truth. All the mysticism and dragons make this a tale worthy of Midgard. – E

Deadpool vs. Carnage #1 – C+

This issue marks the start to another almost guaranteed enjoyable Deadpool series. We learn that Cletus Kasady/ Carnage has escaped from prison and has been traveling across America killing as many people as he can. Deadpool sees this on the news while watching T.V. and after a classic Deadpool scene where he tries figure out what he should do with his life, he heads after Carnage figuring he is the only one crazy enough to be able to catch him and bring him to whatever kind of justice Deadpool brings. This first issue packs the kind of violence we would assume would come from not just a Deadpool book but from Carnage as well and of course has the same wit and humor that always comes with our favorite Merc with the Mouth. The issue ends on a semi cliffhanger and the sight of a smaller Villainess from the Spiderman universe known as Shriek. This series is bound to be entertaining for Deadpool alone, but I am excited to see where it goes and how these two will continue their battle. – JR

The Merc With the Purdy Mouth faces off with Carnage. We don’t know why;  Deadpool actually gets the “epiphany” from watching television. There’s not even an attempt at cohesion here – like most things Deadpool. There is some clever writing, but I didn’t see the point to any of it – and the issue was quickly forgotten after the last page was turned. The name of the series is enough to sell the mini-series, but any more bland issues like this and I don’t think I’ll be able to keep going. Here’s to hoping this issue lives up to at least a little of its potential. – S

Inhuman #1 – C

Don’t get me wrong, I like Charles Soule’s writing. I truly enjoyed last year’s Superman/Wonder Woman run from D.C. Comics. But Inhumans #1 was a difficult read. Unless you have a pretty extensive knowledge of The Kree, (an alien race at odds with the Skrulls and responsible for bio-engineering super-sapiens here on earth), Black Bolt and Terrigen technology, you are going to be lost. There is a ton of unnecessary dialog in this book, so much so that it seems forced. I know, I know, I’ve complained before about the lack of writing in some titles, but this book couldn’t find a healthy balance between the art and the story. The panels are vibrant, shout out Joe Madureira, but at points it seemed like the art and story were fighting for the readers attention. Now, with that being said, I am semi-excited for this title. If you have been following the incredible Ms. Marvel book, you will be pleasantly surprised that we start Inhuman following the Terrigen storm in New York; can we say “crossover?” Overall, great art, too much info in the story for a first issue. There is, however, a pretty cool Stark Industries Easter Egg at the end, though. – JS

 

GPA by Publisher:

DC Comics: 3 B’s and 1 D, averaging out to a 2.5

Marvel Comics: 3 A’s, 3 B’s and 2 C’s, averaging out to a 3.13

Independents: 2 A’s, 3 B’s and 2 C’s, averaging out to a 3.00

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 ElkhatibEvan LoweAdrian PuryearTaylor Lowe, Robert Michael, John Soweto and Jacob Robinson

Comic Book Reviews 02-26-14

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:

deadly class reagan

Deadly Class (Image Comics) #2 – A

This book is awesome, it’s a classic high school scene like Harry Potter or Freaks and Greeks, except the children are there to learn how to be assassins. I just love the story behind this book and what it is going to develop into. At first, when Sherif told me about Deadly Class, I honestly thought it was going to be stupid and not very entertaining, but I have been proven wrong. With so many cool characters, and an interesting concept, Deadly Class has tickled, no, molested my fancy and I cannot wait to continue to see what comes out of this comic. In issue #2, we get our very first look into the school it’s amazing to see where everyone comes from and how everyone there plans to become an assassin. Even though there isn’t a ton of action in this issue, the writing is enough to keep the reader engaged and interested through the entire book. I can truly appreciate a comic that doesn’t need action to make the story great. If you have not started reading Deadly Class yet, I highly recommend it. – E

Other Reviews:

DC/Vertigo:

Superman: Lois Lane #1 – B

Lois Lane hasn’t been a major part of Superman’s life like she has in the past thanks to the reboot of the New 52 and Superman knocking boots with a goddess now. This story proves that Lois Lane is still a badass reporter that doesn’t need to be rescued by the Man of Steel. The plot revolves around Lois’ sister and some sort of trouble that she got into with drugs that have crazy side-effects. Lois of course sets off to investigate and get into all sorts of hijinks related to the investigation. The story overall isn’t too bad and the art is great, which also matches the artwork from the new 52 superman book. I wasn’t sure what to expect from a one-shot like this but I can say that Lois didn’t disappoint. She is still the only woman I can see Superman ending up with.  – R

Batman Superman #8 – B-

I’ve finally woken up from the bad dream that has been the past couple months of Batman/Superman and found myself back in the real world. I’m not sure what kind of hell was happening with the last few issues, but we are back in the Greg Pak/Jae Lee universe that we signed up for in the first place. Issue #8 saw an alternate universe’s Robin and Supergirl (now Huntress and Power Girl) meeting Batman and Superman for the first time. Seeing Batman’s estranged daughter interact with him for the first time is worth a laugh, and Superman’s attempt to protect Power Girl from himself is exactly what you’d expect. The plot is just a transition to what will happen in the next issue of World’s Finest, so don’t get too attached to the story. Really, though, the art is what will save the book. It’s just beautiful, and it’s reason enough to invest in the series going forward. – S

Dark Horse Comics:

Tomb Raider #1 – B+

This issue is about what I expected it to be when I heard there was a new series coming out. This issue is an introduction to a few key characters and the buildup for the first arc. What I didn’t expect was that it is a continuation of the story from the latest Tomb Raider game that came out. I absolutely loved the game and if you haven’t played it yet, I would highly recommend it – you owe it to yourself. This continuation has me especially excited because I was left with a sense of wanting to know what happens next after the game. If the writing is as good as it was in the game, then I expect there to be great potential in this story. This is still a very young Lara and that leaves tons of room for development beyond anything we have seen before in games or film. – R

Serenity: Leaves on the Wind #2 – C+

If the debut issue of Serenity: Leaves on the Wind was the honeymoon, issue #2 is like the awkward first week back. The Serenity crew is forced with a tough decision regarding Zoë’s condition, and they pick up an old pal in Jayne Cobb. With Jayne on board, things should feel back to normal, but the identity just isn’t there in this book… yet. There are many moving pieces in Leaves on the Wind: the new revolution, Zoë, River, and an unwelcome visitor by the name of Jubal Early (last episode of Firefly). So far, nothing has been established to make me feel part of the experience. Hopefully the next issue will make me feel the magic. – S

IDW Comics:

Teenage Mutant Nina Turtles #31 – A-

As the turtles regroup in Northampton from the events of City Fall, we’re finally getting to see our heroes in their familiar light: joking, training and feeling like family again. There are some really awesome moments with Casey and Donatello (very nostalgic of the first TMNT film) and Raphael and Alopex. Even Leonardo and Splinter iron out some issues. This issue isn’t all feels though, as a new mutant assassin of the foot emerges. What really sets TMNT apart from other books is that even in the lulls, there is always something to push the story along. The dialog may seem lengthy at times, but it’s heavily tied to the story and character development. The art of Ross Campbell is beautiful, and is greatly complemented by it’s bright colors. Enjoy it while it lasts, as after issue 32, Mateus Santolouco takes over. Regardless of who is drawing, with Tom Waltz at the held, TMNT can do no wrong.  – S

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Utrom Empire #2 – B

In this Krang-centric book, we get a look at the bigger picture. Krang, although ruthless and power-hungry, cares deeply for the fate of his people. It’s almost admirable, in a creepy kind of way. As he battles extinction from all angles, Krang proves he is willing to do whatever is necessary to save the Utrom people, even at the cost of his own life. The 80’s action flick vibe is still in full effect, here. Vog, the triceratops mutant, is quickly becoming one of my favorite villains in the book, and I just hope that the turtles never have to face such a foe. I’m not nearly as interested in this side-story as I have been in the past TMNT mini-series (the best among them being Secret of the Foot Clan), but Utrom Empire has managed to take the turtles most dangerous foe and make him the protagonist… sort of. – S

Samurai Jack #5 – B

BOSS FIGHT! We were just saying in our review of issue #4 that it’s time for the story to pick up steam and progress the story. Like the top of a roller-coaster ride, all this issue needed was a light push and the story went from 0-epic in one page. In fact, it might move too quick, as the art and dialog is all over the place, and a bit jumbled. That being said, Jack confronts Aku, and it’s every bit the showdown we were waiting for. The Threads of Time play a big part in his strategy, but the turn-around from start to end is so fast, it seemed a bit rushed. Pace aside, Jack is still a great pick-up for those raised on the series and genre. – S

X-Files Conspiracy: Transformers #1 – B-

Above most other aspects in creative media and storytelling, I appreciate creativity and new ideas.  IDW supplies in X-Files Conspiracy.  The fourth installment of this series merges the adventures of Scully, Mulder and their cohorts with the infamous robots in disguise – Transformers!  Being one of my favorite childhood interests it was great to see Optimus and others in still panel form.  The premise is simple; the X-Files team is out to unravel a conspiracy and in the process, save the world.  Continuing on from the previous issues featuring the Ghostbuster’s crew as well as our favorite heroes in half-shells (TMNT!!), the Autobots assemble in support of the cause.  There were a lot of humorous moments in the pages of this issue that really add to the enjoyment factor.  It wasn’t the most action packed comic, but all in all this was a fun read.  I recommend it if you’re looking to add a little bit of light-hearted variety to your comic stack.  – T

Image Comics:

Black Science #4 – A

Of the numerous volumes of comic books I’m reading right now, very few come close to Image’s Black Science.  This series tops even the Star War issues in my current stack (and that’s saying something).  Don’t sleep on this one, people.  Rick Remender’s (writer) creative genius has brought us a story with depth, intrigue, adventure, conflict/plot variety and everything that makes the Hush Comics family giddy!  An issue hasn’t passed where I wasn’t left anxious after at the very last page and panel!  Issue #4 plays out is similar fashion as the debut issue – a race against time before our dimensionaughts are forced to jump again to another dimension.  The intensity is juxtaposed with powerful character monologue and gorgeous art work.  I give, yet again, another big round of applause to Matteo Scalera (artist) and Dean White (painter).  What they put on the page…it’s like love-making for eyeballs.  By the conclusion of the issue, the plot has taken on a completely different pace and tone.  This beautiful evolution opens up vast possibilities for the continuation of Black Science.  I hope Remender and team keep this unique adventure engaging and exciting. – T

The Revenge #1 – B

Uhhhh, I’m not entirely sure what I just read, but it was good! This is definitely unlike other comic books that I have read in a long time. With lots of blood and boobs, The Revenge is a comic for a mature audience. This story is pretty clear and laid out, but I still have no idea where it is going to go. Some points in this comic and just demented and gruesome, yet I can’t find fault in it because that is the identity that the book has found for itself. Honestly, I found the book strange but a good strange, not like a “this is so weird and stupid I don’t even know what is going on strange.” So if you are in the search for a comic book unlike the rest, and are up for some boobs and blood, then I would recommend The Revenge. – E

Sex #11 – B-

After last issue’s tease at what a world with the Armored Saint looked like, we are back to the foreplay of the other nine issues. While the tension is certainly rising in Saturn City, I can’t honestly see the Saint making a comeback for at least another five issues if they continue at this pace. All the major characters and motives (or lack thereof) have been established and the only logical next step this story can take is to introduce the Armored Saint to save the city. They show us in the beginning that Simon clearly still has the skill but he just doesn’t have the proper motivation to break his vow yet. Simon is reminiscent of how Oliver Queen was behaving in the beginning of his New 52 run; they both desire to be something else yet neither one quite knows how to make it happen. I’m sure that wrinkly old ball sac called the Old Man will help him out with that. Speaking of ball sac, there has been a marked increase in the amount of penis that they started showing since its first introduction a few issues back – perhaps we could tone that down a bit. This isn’t Game of Thrones or Spartacus, after all.  – R

The Walking Dead #122 – C-

Uggghh!  If you’re wondering whether I’m disappointed or practicing my walker impression, know that it is the former… Chalk another one up for an uneventful TWD issue.  As various members of the Alexandria and Hilltop communities cope and adjust to the aftermath of the savage battles the plot remains in a state of limbo.  Minor developments and hints as to what will happen next pepper the page, but I’ve already lost track of the number of times an issue has lead me to believe, “oh the next issue is gonna be crazy!”… And I can count pretty high.  Kirkman’s focus on the All Out War arch is far too centralized war rhetoric and how it affects everyone.  I don’t know about you, but the impacts of war are lost on me in this post-apocalyptic time frame.  The world has already gone to shit and a series of skirmishes termed as “war” adds little to the series.  Only four issues remain until the All Out War story ends.  I hope for the sake of continued TWD support that the conclusion is epic.  It may not be long before this TWD fan is walking away from this dead series. – T

Marvel:

Hawkeye #15 – B+

It feels so good to be back in New York with Hawk-guy. I’ve had enough of Kate as Hawkeye, with her disastrous exploits living on her own. I really enjoy Clint Barton’s everyday adventures: the guns, the butt-kicking, and most especially, the Bros. The Russian (?) Bro Mafia is hilarious. They are one building away from owning the whole neighborhood – a building illegally owned by Hawkeye. Sometimes, it’s the most humane stories in the Avengers’ world that make for the most clever and entertaining books. Throw in a legitamite villain to the mix, and you have plenty of gas in the tank for Matt Fraction’s best book out. – S

Fantastic Four #1 – B

After an exciting first few pages, I was actually pretty excited to continue reading to see what was coming next. It started on such a serious and mysterious note that it grabs the reader attention right away. Yet, the rest of the book didn’t really carry that same mood and tone up until the end. Seeing that it is a first issue, I can understand the need to set up plot lines and background story, I just wish all that middle stuff was a bit more interesting. However, I am still interested to see how this story is going to play out. It seems like it is going to be more of a somber comic than a typical superhero book. And by getting a glimpse at that somber tone, it allows the reader to want to know how it got there. What went down in order to bring these people to the places they are at now? I guess only time will tell, but I would enjoy finding out. – E

Origin II #3 – B

Three issues in out of five and I’m still not sure what the purpose of this book is. I have enjoyed the art immensely but there hasn’t been any actual character development. So far Logan hasn’t actually said a single word, unless of course you count onamotapeia as language. I get the feeling that given the direction some of Wolverines other books are taking that this will perhaps be an origin for how his feud with Sabertooth ultimately began. Somehow, Sinister also fits into the picture, too. Being a major fan of Wolverine, I can’t help but continue to read this but I also can’t help but as why is there a sequel. – R

Indestructible Hulk #19 – B-

As of right now, there is a lot going on in the Indestructible Hulk series; yet with this particular comic, I felt like not much was happening. We got to see the effects of another one of Banner’s solutions to a problem and the consequences that happened because of it, but a majority of the comic was just uneventful. We did get to see some pretty cool action toward the beginning of the comic; however, it wasn’t able to carry the book by itself. I’m hoping the next issue can bring more excitement following the events that have transpired over the last couple issues. – E

Deadpool #24 – C+

Issue #24 ends the long saga of Agent Preston being stuck in Deadpool’s body. It’s drawn out, and uncharacteristically emotional, but it’s still the same Deadpool you know and love. There are a couple moments in the mush-fest that stick, though, as Deadpool is truly alone now – excluding the cacophony of voices in his head. It’s a decent transition issue, but it’s not much more than that. With all the hoopla at Marvel over a Deadpool wedding, I can see the need to explore those feelings, but #24 really forces the issue. Overall, I’m happy with the direction the book is taking, but turning Deadpool into a soft-hearted murderer won’t sit well with me. – S

Wolverine #2 – C

Heroes and villains have a way of dying or having a major crisis that somehow majorly affects them all the time. It’s the comic book industries way of reminding us that we should appreciate what we have because at any minute it could be taken away. Just look at Peter Parker; not only did they kill the Amazing Peter but they also killed the Ultimate universe’s version of Peter, too. Logan has a run-in with Superior Spider-Man‘s “Peter Parker” that shows a side of Logan that I don’t really think we have experienced before. This is a Wolverine that is de-powered, broken and, for the first time ever, afraid. I can’t help but think that this is just some plot to bring him back better than ever, or maybe change him in some major way kind of like what they did to Jubilee. That being said, this depiction of Logan pretty much shits on the whole idea of the character. I hope that Paul Cornell knows what he is doing. Too much of this Wolverine is definitely a bad thing.  – R

Superior Spider-Man #28 – C-

After such a stellar display in issue #27, Superior Spider-Man feels like an awkwardly-long continuation instead of an expansion upon the Goblin Nation story. Some secrets were revealed, and it still feels like this is going somewhere, but I had gotten my hopes up after the last issue that things were finally turning around. While Otto is dumb-founded that the Green Goblin has out-smarted him, the subconscious of Peter Parker is getting sucked further and further into Otto Octavius’ psyche. Maybe Superior is trying to avoid taking the easy way out (segueing into April’s re-emergence of Amazing Spider-Man), but it just seems now that it is stalling for time until Parker returns. I’ll still keep reading, but I wouldn’t recommend this to new readers. – S

George Romero’s Empire of the Dead #2 – D

This issue is pretty much nothing but buildup for the inevitable plot arc involving some ridiculous rise of the zombies with consciences, or perhaps some type of battle between zombie and vampires with humans caught in the middle. The story remains vigilant that there is a way to domesticate zombies and that they have some feeling or memory of their former selves. I know that George Romero is considered one of the greats but I think he has crossed over that fine line of innovative into ridiculousness. This doesn’t even feel like fresh material after watching his last few subpar films. He has already explored many of these ideas in his earlier work and it didn’t pan out very well there either. I am left wondering how he thought it could pan out better in short spurts that don’t really have any coherent ideas so far. And as a bit of a personal gripe, the art is a bit all over the place. It is hard to determine who is who sometimes when the art doesn’t even match from one panel to the next. – R

GPA by Publisher:

DC Comics: 2 B’s, averaging out to a 3.00

Marvel Comics: and 4 B’s, 3 C’s and 1 D, averaging out to a 2.38

Independents: 3 A’s, 6 B’s and 2 C’s, averaging out to a 3.09

Funniest Panel of the Week:

alopex tai chi

Epic Panel of the Week:

clobberin time

Cover Art of the Week:

Fantastic Four #1 Alex Ross variant
Fantastic Four #1 Alex Ross variant
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 ElkhatibAdrian PuryearEvan LoweTaylor Lowe and Robert Michael