Gauntlet of the Geek: Are Licensed Comic Books Good for the Industry?

“Gauntlet of the Geek” is a new featured article where two of our writers debate on hot button issues in today’s nerd industry. We’re not paid to kiss ass, so see what happens when the white gloves come off and we let you all know how we really feel. Let us know whom you agree with.

Sherif’s opinion:

For the last 30-40 years in pop culture, one thing has remained constant – franchises survive. Think of your favorite fandoms – how many of them are new to the last twenty years? Star Wars, Transformers, G.I. Joe, Doctor Who, Disney…all of them have survived generations because of the way they replicate onto different mediums of consumption. Sure, tribal upbringing accounts for a fair amount of the influence, but these franchises, now corporations built off the blood money of thousands of parents desperate to immerse their offspring in the same stuff. And those blessed corporations care enough about we the consumer to keep putting out fresh material to relate one generation to the next, keeping these beloved fandoms alive. Where would TMNT be without the new Nickelodeon series? I’ll tell you where. In the retro section of a fucking Hot Topic, that’s where. Let’s not forget that the stuff kids find cool is only cool because television, movies, and toy stores tell them it’s cool. We’re just more accepting of it because we find it cool, too.

This is the price we have to pay to keep TMNT relevant.
This is the blood price we have to pay to keep TMNT relevant.

One of the best side effects of licensed comic books is the amount of pull and resources that it gives the creators. For example, the mountains of merchandising money that Disney and WB give Marvel and DC, respectively, have opened up the doors for them to take chances on titles for the lesser-known titles (like Squirrel Girl and Ms. Marvel – both of which have had HUGE success). It’s not so much making people who watch Iron Man want to pick up Extremis, but using the resources that the Iron Man movie’s exposure brings in to reallocate and try something new (which I admit is a doey-eyed way to look at the world. We all know these corporations don’t give a crap about us). Think of it as drug dealers buying winter clothing for local school children with their drug money.

I look at licensed comic books the same way I look at the honorary torch carrier at the Olympics. They shouldn’t be regarded with the elite status they once were. X-Files and Star Trek comic books should not be competing with Saga and D4VE, nor should they be marketed as such. Licensed comic books should be designed to engage readers to narrow the gaps between fandoms. One fan who loves comics but doesn’t know anything about Ghostbusters now has input to a conversation about those who love the movies but aren’t into comic books. It’s a beautiful thing when it happens.

How can you not be excited for this?? And how is Batman not impressed??
How can you not be excited for this?? And how is Batman not impressed??

However, the key is knowing when and how to bring some of the lesser-known books back into the spotlight. Unfortunately for us, there are some publishers out there who are filling nearly their entire catalog with 80’s franchises that just don’t fit in today, let alone in the comic book format. If you’re immediately thinking of IDW Publishing and Dynamite Entertainment, you’d be correct. A Django/Zorro crossover? A Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure 3? Escape From New York? Angry Birds?? You get the point. Since Image’s recent explosion of actual content in creator-owned titles, the smaller guys (BOOM!, IDW, Dynamite, Titan) have all resorted to making these kind of unnecessary branded titles part of their flagship titles, which can only end up giving the industry creative constipation.

Was it popular once? IDW will give it a miniseries!
Was it popular once? IDW will give it a miniseries!

With the successful integration of comic books into mainstream media, it’s only natural that these corporations would try to capitalize on the success of these franchises. Each of your favorite franchises began as a lowly “hopeful,” and while some of the crappier ones might be here for now, only the great ones remain. It’s how Buffyverse is still running. It’s how A Song of Ice and Fire will likely continue after George R. R. Martin ends the saga. Licensed comic books let creators continue telling stories even when they think nobody is listening anymore.

by Sherif Elkhatib

Montgomery’s opinion:
Let me get this out in the open right off the bat: licensed comics are terrible. It’s hard to pin down exactly why, but I’m going to see if I can narrow it down to a few easily observed facts. And before you get all uppity with me and shriek in your halting bat language, “But Montgomery! Don’t you semi-regularly gush about one or more Transformers comics?” I do. But that doesn’t mean the genre is redeemed, and it doesn’t make me a hero: it just means I’m weak, along with everyone else who bought Super Pro.
super pro
The Properties
Perhaps the most glaring issue right from the start is the properties they insist on convincing us are worth reading. I referenced Super Pro, but have you ever actually seen it? This is taking up space on Marvel’s hard drives as we speak.I mean, as someone who takes football very seriously (read: I don’t take it seriously at all), this is the thing I buy to reassure myself that I can be taken seriously as a human who breathes air on this planet. I mean, check out those cute Puritan-influenced cleats he’s wearing. This is a man’s comic, no doubt. But seriously folks, more often than not, a licensed comic is nothing but a cynical cash grab from one giant corporation to another. There’s no love of either art going into it, and then you’re forced to ask: “Who’s supposed to want to buy this?” I mean, the love fans of football have for comics is legendary, and the stereotype of the football playing comic nerd is so old it’s almost worn out (not to editor: forgot my sarcasm tags). But it doesn’t stop there. Love the music of Kiss? Well now you can enjoy their nuanced aesthetic with none of their complicated rhyme scheme.
kiss comics
The Writing
A misguided relative actually bought me Super Pro #1. I read it because what, am I actually going to play football? Hell to the no. It’s a story that’s nearly impossible to resurrect from the graveyard of my prepubescent memory, but one thing was painfully clear even to my eight year-old brain: this was a comic written neither for fans of football, nor fans of comics. And that’s a problem deeply inherent to the genre. Because, more often than not, the cross polinization of properties is just an attempt to capitalize on something that’s already profitable, the resultant product cannot be something the violates the spirit of either thing. It cannot offend the sensibilities of either fan base, but that almost curses it to appealing to neither fan base. Super Pro, if you care (which you almost certainly don’t) is the tragic story of a football player who gets injured nearly to death. He’s brought back from the brink courtesy of a mechanical football uniform so that he can continue… to… play football? But then realizes he’s more than just feetsballs throw man, and fights… crime? I mean, apart from about fifteen moments where I have to stop and ask, “Uh, why?”, that premise sounds like it comes straight from the mouth of that uncle we all have who hates comics and doesn’t respect us for our love. Because the end result shits on the heads of anyone who might possibly want it, every step toward that end result is just as insulting and just as steamy.Oh so, I guess I’ll just buy an adaptation of the thing I already have?!transformers the movie the comic book
Perhaps the most prevalent reason for licensed comics is the disease like pervasive presence of the “based on the hit movie” comic.Oh good, now I can be irritated, frustrated, and repulsed by one thing in two mediums.This is the point where I also have to stipulate that just because something sells, it does not mean it’s qualitatively good. I mean, everyone’s mom has a copy of Fifty Shades of Grey stashed under their mattress, but it’s not winning any awards any time soon. Right? God I hope not. I have to make that clear because comics are experiencing a sort of rebirth thanks to the herpes-like proliferation of comic book movies.

"Marvel: the herpes of comic books, but for movies."
“Marvel: the herpes of comic books, but for movies.”

I guess on one hand I have to be thankful for terrible ideas like the Avengers movie tie-in comic, but why does such a thing exist in the first place? “Duh, Montgomery,” you might start, “because people who saw the movie might want to get into comics, and this is their way in, you dumb sack of crap,” you might finish. And very rudely, I might add. And in your very rude retort (seriously, guy), you’ve proven my point: they’ve already seen the movie. Who needs to buy this comic? Apart from the compulsive collector, is there really an audience of people who like the idea of an Avengers movie enough to buy a comic based on the movie, but not enough to buy the actual comics that have been running for 50 years or to spend the $10 to see the movie in the theater? It’s a bizarre monster we’ve lived with all our lives but haven’t really noticed.

There are other reasons why licensed comics are terrible. The fact that tie-ins are often made before the movie knows what they’re doing, so you wind up with weird anachronisms; the art is just the worst, like really, do they even care; the fact that the licensed property is fenced-in so fiercely that even if it were a good idea in the first place, they don’t have much space to play around in. Really, we could talk until all the oxygen is gone, but just these three reasons should be enough to convince you to put down that comic book prequel to Transformers 5: Planet of The Earth and invest in some stocks. Or something.

by JH Montgomery

Grant Morrison is Going to Ruin Christmas With “Klaus”

Grant Morrison, who just wrapped up DC Comics’ Multiversity run in April 2015, has announced that he will be collaborating with BOOM! Studios to bring Klaus to shelves this November.

Before you let good old Saint Nick down your chimney, don’t you want to know who this shady foreigner REALLY is? Klaus serves as an origin story/Earth 2 version of the jolly fellow. Morrison is at his best when he gets to make his own version of a character, not shackled to an archetype with no room for translation. The focus of Klaus is not to shock and disturb – although it’s not something I’d get my mom for Christmas. It seems like a genuine attempt to at least make Santa relevant, “cool,” and forgive me – even a bit of a badass. instead of the fat old gift-giver he’s grown to be.

klaus grant morrison
Image credited to ComicBookResources.com

Joining Morrison will be artist Dan Mora, whose digital art is some of the best in the industry. Check more about him here.

In today’s comic book industry, where every single character needs an origin story, it’s easy to brush Klaus off as malarkey. However, the fact that Grant Morrison is writing it means it’s got to have some substance… right? Keep a look-out for this to be coming to stores this November.

Source: CBR

Comic Book Reviews 01-07-15

Review Scale:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pick of the Week:

 Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #1

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #1 – A+ 

Goddammit Marvel. You let me think I’m done with super hero comics forever, and then Squirrel Girl happens. And that’s after I saw the original Squirrel Girl stuff from the 90s that actually looked like it was from the 70s, and also made Squirrel Girl look like a crazy prostitute serial killer. I mean, I get Squirrel Girl being a thing created anywhere from 1938 to 1979 when all super hero creation was, “Adjective Gender,” and then no matter how obviously terrible your idea is, you turn out 300 issues because all comics are 3 cents a piece – and what else are you going to do with that money? NOT buy a comic? Unlikely – but for this to be created in the 90s is bizarre, and then for her to keep popping up in the double oughts is double bizarre. But for a Marvel number 1, this is actually quite good. Like, I don’t know when I last read a Marvel book I cared about, let alone a number one. I love that they totally embraced this character’s inanity and relative uselessness (I mean, compared to people like Hulk and Iron Man, she’d be powerless. Even compared to Hawkeye, whose only power is, “shoots arrows real good you guys,” she’s pretty under equipped), and turned her into a 4th wall breaking (well, her cards break the fourth wall) nerdy fan girl is pretty great. And she talks out her problems. And the art looks clearly John K. inspired, so if you were alive in 1991 and watching Nickelodeon, that means you’re bound by Federal Statute to buy this book. And if, uh, that really big guy actually shows up in issue 2, it’s kind of guaranteed you’re hooked. – J.H.

Other Reviews: 

Boom! Studios:

Feathers #1 – B

Feathers is a fun and original little story to come from a brand new writer and illustrator. In short, it’s the story of an abandoned baby who gets rescued by a compassionate man and together they live in The Maze, a really unfortunate slum just outside of a white city. The boy also happens to be covered in feathers and the man knows that because of that some bad people will be looking for him. The story is also seemingly narrated by two different voices that may not have put this whole scene into action, but they have great interest in how it turns out. The first issue was a good read, it was sweet and endearing although at times I questioned if it was better geared towards children. The whole thing had kind of a Hellboy feel, although that could be contributed to the slightly similar artwork and the fact that an older man finds a monster baby and chooses to raise him for good, although he seemingly could have great powers for evil. Feathers is only a six part series, so if you’re looking for an enjoyable read but you have a fear of commitment, I’d definitely recommend you give it a read. I think this one is going good places and the end will most likely be bittersweet. – Keriann

Dark Horse:

Lady Killer #1 – B-
 
I don’t know whether I should be offended by this book or applaud it for its honesty.  The first half of the book was really intriguing.  A 50’s housewife who sells Avon is really a spy and killer.  The murder scene was Tarantino-esque – so therefore it was amazing.  But then the rest of the book has to take some of that away and shove it in our face that this is a woman, and therefore her sexuality and body are of importance.  I am hoping that the next issue flips this trope on its side, but as of now, I’m only a little hopeful. – Adrian

DC/Vertigo: 

Detective Comics #38 – A
Who would have thought that lesser-known villain Anarky would be one of the easiest rogue to evolve with the times? Well, it was not me. Without the pressure of putting out epic content that the main title book has, this Batman book can focus on releasing amazing detective stories. I am loving this new Anarky story, which sort of parallels hacker groups in real life with the way he “sets free” the people – and the blank mask: genius! Even Matches Malone gives an inspiring speech. Detective Comics‘ new team has filled a void in comic books I didn’t even realize was missing. – Sherif
Mortal Kombat X #1 – A-
Finally, a Mortal Kombat comic book I don’t need my parents’ permission to read. Previously under the Malibu Comics imprint, MK books have been few and far between in the last decade, so the new digital-first series by DC had me very excited. Digital first series have their pros (easily accessible, weekly editions) and cons (too short!), but it’s a great platform gearing up to the upcoming MK X game. This series shows great promise; the story is completely progressed from typical lore, and the violence is exactly at the point you would expect from the classic series. For MK fans, this is a MUST read. Even if you don’t like Mortal Kombat at all, this series could pique your interest. – Sherif

Wolf Moon #2 – B+

I. Love. Werewolves. A lot. I’m kind of obsessed. Some people think that makes me weird, some people think that makes me quirky. Either way, Wolf Moon is AH-MAZING and it has some of the coolest and most unique creature lore I’ve ever heard. So far Wolf Moon is gritty and kind of all encompassing, as in I could tune out the apocalypse while I read it because I’m that sucked in. It seems that the next issue will be told from another perspective, this time from more Winchester brother type of monster hunters. The series will wrap in only six issues, which is definitely a good thing for a story like this. Carrying it out for too long would most likely make it tedious because, in all honestly, there is only so much you can do with werewolves and monster hunters without destroying the delicate balance between great and campy. I absolutely recommend this book, but it does come with a disclaimer. Wolf Moon, while so so cool, may be best fit for fans of the genre or at least people who can handle gore. This is a werewolf book, people are getting torn literally in two. On more than one occasion. It may not be as gory as Ferals, but it’s close and this is only issue two. You’ve been warned, now go read this book. – Keriann

Green Arrow #38 – D
The tag team of Green Lantern and Green Arrow, specifically the series by Dennis O’Neil and Neal Adams, is one of the most celebrated team books of all time, so when I heard that Hal Jordan was going to be holding hands with Green Arrow this issue, I was ecstatic. Unfortunately, it was a total bust, Aside from a really sweet construct that Lantern built for Arrow, there was nothing to get excited for here. Felicity loses all her charm as a comic book character that Emily Rickards brings to the TV show, and the chemistry between the two superheroes is practically non-existent. Leave any future reunions to the professionals.- Sherif

Dynamite:

Shaft #2 – C+
If this series were a t-shirt, it would be extra-medium. A big, fat MEH for me on this book. Shaft has really avoided saying anything about anything in its first two issues, and while it has been entertaining, my life does not stop for Shaft. It should though; Shaft is one bad mother-shut your mouth, and holding him back from really making waves is entirely contradictory of his character.This book is not bad by any means, but I was expecting so much more – especially because it already has the “Shaft” brand to do half the work before I open the front page. – Sherif

Image Comics:

God Hates Astronauts #5 – A

GHA was gut-wrenchingly awesome as usual. There was however, one glorifying aspect that shined above all other this week – CROAD!! Let me tell you people, Ryan Browne is a genius. Croad, part crab part toad assassin for hire swooped in on a flying, singing humpback whale and a posse of other flying sea creatures to face-off against Star Grass. That’s not the best part though. What is, is that EVERY single one of Croad’s lines this week was a Darth Vader quote. You might think, “that doesn’t sound like it would make sense.” And it didn’t. Which is why it is brilliant and also why you should read GHA this week. My hat is off to you Mr. Browne. – Taylor

Trees #8 – A

Is it just me or does it seem it’s a week of the simplistic? The cover of Trees was very striking in its simplicity. A man attempting to cut down a tree and from the bark a river of blood. Really makes you wonder what your about to get yourself involved in… oh yeah. Read this with a tissue. Cause I’m bawling and my gut is in literal knots. Fuck you Warren Ellis. But, good writing too, cause … ouch that was painful. I knew the conflict was coming; I could feel it mounting over the last several books but I wasn’t expecting what. I don’t want to give it away. Though, the cover does a fine job of that. Trees uses simplicity to their advantage and the images hauntingly carried the story along, making the emotional impact of it all that much stronger. – Jené

Birthright #4 – A-

Birthright is just so good. I wish there was a more eloquent way to put that, but it’s the straight forward truth. It seems like Joshua Williamson is able to pack exposition, development, fantasy excitement and action all into one issue seamlessly. As usual, both stories moved forward, although I must say they sure are taking their time with Mikey’s journey in Terrenos. I think he’s been dealing with the same beast for three issues now… Either way, it seems like in the next issue there will be an all out battle between Mikey and Ward which will not only be epic, but it will make sure that Brennan and Aaron (Dad) will now fully believe Mikey’s truth. I say it every month, and I’ll say it again: if you’re not reading Birthright, you’re making a big mistake. – Keriann

Deadly Class #10 – B+
While it’s nice to be able to personally connect with a comic book character, sometimes it’s fun just living a crazy alternate life vicariously through a well-written and entertaining character. Deadly Class‘s Marcus is in way over his head here, as he awakens from his acid trip extremely hung over and guilty for having cheated on his girlfriend. This would sound like any other high school drama if it were not for the fact that they are all unstable deadly assassins. Not the best issue, but it pushes the story forward at a nice pace. Oh, and Marcus shits his pants. – Sherif

Nailbiter #9 – B

(B+) Well, shit got dark this week for Nailbiter. Well, darker, I suppose. What will happen to those poor innocent kids on the school bus? Probably nothing good. The pace was a little hectic, and it jumped around to different plot points a little more than I like but this was still a gripping issue. The crazy old man with the bees has been taken/killed by a henchman (of sorts) for a master (of sorts) which certainly piqued my interest, but I am a little worried this might be an indicator that things will get really convoluted before we get any answers about the Buckaroo Butcher origins. I really appreciate the direction the story is moving in, and the homage to the urban legend about the guy under the kid’s bed licking his hand made me downright giddy. Overall, Nailbiter is keeping pace with itself in being one of the best reads out there, but this week it didn’t really go over and beyond with anything too great. – Keriann

(B) Really interesting cover this time around. Almost comical. Nice. I love the fact that each book gives a short snippet on what happened previously. It really helps to jar my memory of what happened earlier without having to go too far back. But Holy fuck, this month was a creepy book. I was on the edge of my seat biting my own nails scrolling through as fast as possible to see what was going to happen. This book was super-fast and rather simplistically done, but now I think I’m going to sleep with the lights on tonight. Warren under the bed. Creepiest thing ever and yet hilarious. I still don’t understand how book after book I am both creeped out (yeah, I know I’ve used the word three times, but creepy was what it was) and chuckling under my breath. Seriously if you still aren’t reading this story you really should be. – Jené

Ody-C #2 – B
(A+) Wow. This comic is something else. I’m so thankful this was the second issue because it cleared up what happened to all the men. Which is great. And it wonderfully unpacks the universe and Zeus’ motives for the reader as well as opening up some very basic mechanics for the universe. It’s hard talking in this spoiler-free manner and still saying meaningful things. I love all the exploration of gender and the nature of gender and creation; given who I am however, and the kinds of friends I keep, I can’t help but feel a little suspicious that it’s a man exploring this bizarre concept about women that, obviously, isn’t reality. But, I guess that’s what intelligent men do: try to imagine what life is like from the other side(s) and perhaps feel insanely jealous that we can’t actually say anything authoritative on the subject. Nevertheless, it’s a great book: the art is gorgeous (there are a few panels that made me cock my head and say, “What happened there?”), and it’s a very unique look at old myths that most of us have read at least twice in college. – J.H.
(D+) Matt Fraction’s last book, inspired by The Odyssey, is as close to classic literature as I have ever seen in a comic book; from me, this is not a compliment. I enjoy being intellectually challenged by a comic book, and to give Fraction credit, this is one of the most intelligent books I have ever read, but it gets to a point where I found myself forcing to read the dialogue in a book where the story (and art) are not easily intuitive. It’s the type of product that’s always praised as being complex and poetic, but nothing that I actually enjoyed – much like a majority of the Academy Award nominations. You will know right away whether this book is worth your time, and for me, it was simply not. – Sherif

Roche Limit #4 – B

I gotta say, I am really getting into Roche Limit. It delivers issue after issue. The layering effect of different genres is really intriguing. Every book starts with a suicide note of the founder of the colony, then a powerpoint like presentation that explains aspects of the science, the story, and then the mimic of a scholarly journal all of which weave and explain the complexity of the world and how this “anomaly” is in itself a mysterious character the characters are trying to figure out in the story. It’s smartly done and gripping even though the plot itself has a lot of typical sci-fi clichés. I kinda don’t care at this point because the delivery is so well executed. One question I really have now is about the use of color. The way the color is used though out the books seems really deliberate, but I can’t quite figure out its purpose. I recommended the book. It’s a good one to discuss with friends over a cup of coffee. – Jené

Marvel:

Ant-Man #1 – B+
(A) I have no realm of knowledge of Ant-Man, story or man, but boy did I love this.  Yeah, Scott Lang is funny.  He rivals Tony Stark in wit.  But more importantly, Scott Lang is a good father.  Scott tries his had at working for Tony while also battling his ex-wife for his daughter.  There was action, humor, and a heart-warming father/daughter story.  I’m a sucker for love. – Adrian
(B) This is my first experience with Ant-Man. I was (and continue to be) late to the punch on Age of Ultron and the other significant origin stories, but I knew enough about him to want to pick up this title this week. I’m glad I did. What I appreciate most about this character is that he is pretty much a bum. Let me explain – he has cool power/a cool suit, humorous banter, a big heart and high ambitions. All that aside, the guy lives in a cardboard box and can hardly hold his life together; whether in the suit or not. This reality really sets Scott Lang (Ant-Man) apart from a lot of other superheroes that seem to have their stuff together. Issue #1 was a great read and by the end of it the plot is left WIDE open. This title seems like one worth sticking to. – Taylor

Amazing Spider-Man #12 – B

It’s chaos. Nothing but chaos and pandemonium. Spider-People are spread all over the Spider-Verse, embarking on their various Spider-Missions. The octane level remains high. The shining moment this week comes from a building focus on the significant of “The Scion, The Bride and The Other,” and why these figures are so important to The Inheritors. It appears this family of Spider-feasters has more than, well, feasting on their minds. What that is, we don’t know, but it’s only a matter of time before we do! – Taylor

Avengers: No More Bullying #1 – B+ (or C- if you are an adult)

One thing you have to keep in mind while reading this comic is that it’s definitely a kid’s comic and as such, it serves its purpose. It’s a great teaching tool for talking about bullying. Marvel always does a great job of helping out when it comes to kids who are facing adversity. I’m sure for the kids reading this– for those being bullied– it’s very reassuring to see their favorite superheroes dealing with the same thing. However, if you’re over the age of 12, this comic is probably not for you. It’s super simple with absolutely no subtly. I liked how they addressed Hawkeye’s dismissal as a superhero, but after the first few pages, it just started to go down hill, although the last strip is nicely nostalgic and cute. If you’re a teacher or a parent of kid being bullied, pick this comic up. Otherwise, don’t bother. -Charlotte

Operation S.I.N. #1 – B+

Cleverly released the same week as the new Agent Carter series premiere on ABC, this comic has a lot of potential. Peggy Carter is as badass as ever and teamed up with Howard Stark. Both of these characters are endlessly interesting and their dynamic is amusing to examine. They definitely work well off each other. Not much plot-wise happened in this issue besides switching settings and the introduction of new characters, but this is definitely a good set up for an awesome new story arc. I’m a sucker when it comes to Carter and I can’t wait to see whose ass she kicks next. – Charlotte

Storm #7 – C+ 

While this month’s issue of Storm was an improvement, it wasn’t because of the character, but the bigger picture of a senator being conned into taking out the mutants.  While it is interesting, it isn’t original.  Storm’s dialogue is formulaic.  “I’m a queen/goddess/whatever” is telling me and not showing me, which is lazy writing.  The only reason it gets a “C+” this month is because the bigger picture could be cool, but only time will tell. – Adrian

Hawkeye vs. Deadpool #4 – C

There wasn’t much going for this issue. There was nothing that was particularly bad about it, but there also wasn’t a whole lot that stood out to me either, which stinks for a story finale. It had good fight scenes and Deadpool was hilarious as always, but ultimately it was not as good as it could have been. I really liked the premise of this comic and the dynamic between both Hawkeyes (yeah, there are two) and Deadpool, but it just didn’t do it for me this issue. I’d like to see more of these characters interactions, but I guess Marvel thinks four issues is enough for us. Too bad. – Charlotte

Hulk #10 – C
I’m sorry, but if you sell me a Hulk/Red Hulk showdown, you better damn deliver. Thunderbolt Ross aka Red Hulk makes his debut here when he finds out Doc Green here is systematically eliminating the other Hulks. I had high hopes for this promising plot line, but I’m getting bored and starting to be convinced there was an end in mind, but no means to get there. It would be nice if this book found some real direction, but for now, we will settle for mediocre art and a meandering story. – Sherif

Funniest Panel:

Squirrel Girl #1
Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #1

 

Panel with the Most Awesomeness:

Detective Comics #38
Detective Comics #38

 

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 11-12-14

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:

batman 36 potw 11.12.14

Batman #36- A

(A) There needs to be a limit on how much of The Joker Scott Snyder is allowed to write. I cannot remember a version of The Man Who Laughs that terrified me as much as Snyder’s version does (aside from Brian Azzarello’s Joker, yeesh). Endgame is already shaping up to be able to stand next to Court of OwlsZero Year and Death of the Family in terms of quality. The best way I can describe his writing is like a spider; he reels you in, thinking that you have it all figured out, until the story pulls the carpet from under you until you realize that you are trapped. Snyder’s horror background (The Wake, Wytches and American Vampire) makes him a perfect fit for the most terrifying villain in Batman’s history. This is all perfectly complemented by Greg Capullo’s pencil work. Having had the chance to interview Capullo, we know what a craftsman he is; his eery art style that worked so well on Spawn and Court of Owls fits perfectly with the Joker. The use of colors is dire to the issue’s success, as well, with FCO Plascencia really blending the brightly colored Superman scenes with the dreary Arkham moments. We cannot praise this book, this team enough. Right now is your chance to get in on history in the making, so go out and start reading Batman before the party is over. – Sherif

(A) The New52 Batman is absolute genius.  Yeah, it has been going for a few years now, but I feel the need to remind everyone, just in case they forgot.  Endgame Part 2 continued to showcase the exceptional writing of Scott Snyder and mesmerizing art by Greg Capullo.  The first panels of the issue start slowly with Batman talking about a specific sound he hears in his nightmares.  It forces you to read everything about the page and to experience what Batman himself is experiencing. This is a rarity in comic book writing, in my opinion, and should be lauded.  In this world without the rest of the Justice League, Gotham and beyond become scarier and scarier, but there was one panel in particular that terrified me to my core: a close up of The Joker’s deranged eyes.  No one but Capullo could have pulled it off.  If you are behind, or have yet to start in on this story arc, quit reading my review, and go pick it up at your local comic shop now! – Adrian

Other Reviews: 

BOOM! Studios:

Deep State #1- C-

A government conspiracy between Russia and America when the moon landing really happened – the first thing that jumps out is the opening narration that is void of any comic cliche comic book writing: just describing the action in the panel, and then saying, “My name’s John Johnson, and I am Fly Guy.” It’s really nice and sets up the expectation that what you’re about to read is going to be creatively written, but then all the dialogue reads like this: “For instance, the question you want to know right now is how I could possibly expect you to believe a word I’m saying.” It’s the kind of writing that’s trying really hard to be intriguing, but points too vigorously to itself. The art is OK; it’s like someone simultaneously trying to do Hellboy and anime, which aren’t complimentary. Man, I want to love every comic I read so bad, and this one was right in my wheelhouse (government conspiracies, alien life, ancient astronaut, probably), but the dialogue was so clunky that it made 25 pages seem like infinity. Page 24 is definitely the most interesting to look at. – Cuyler

Dark Horse Comics:

Resurrectionists #1- B+

Resurrectionists was a fragmented story and there was a lot of content that was covered really quickly, but it’s done right. There are well formed characters to start, with some very interesting dynamics between them. The first part leaves you a little intrigued, but you have to hope that comes back around in a way that does it justice. Overall, though, I liked it a lot. It has a bit of everything: intelligence, action, intrigue, and what it does best is the interpersonal dynamics between the characters. I think some of my favorite books and comics always built that as their foundation, so it has me wanting more. I’ll definitely have to grab the next issue. – Zach

Prometheus: Fire and Stone #3 – C

This is my first review for the series though I’ve read every issue of it so far. The artwork is beautiful. Last issue had some truly beautiful panoramas of the planet. The biggest problem is the overstuffed staff. There are somewhere in the neighborhood of ten characters, and the story gives each one near-equal screen time, which means I have no idea who to root for. I assume the main character and captain simply because she’s a take-charge woman, and those are the only people to make it out alive in the Aliens/Prometheus universe, but it tries to be tense and mysterious, and hints at some fascinating ideas – monkeys, ants, and giraffe-ish looking animals that all developed as a result of the black goo from the movie, and an android that mutates as a result of exposure to the goo – but never gives anything real screen time. The best Aliens comics have always had some sort of philosophical answer to look for, and the worst were simple run-n-gun stories. I might be the only person on the planet who liked Prometheus, but this is a simple run-n-gun story with way too much trying to be accomplished at any given moment. – Cuyler

DC/Vertigo: 

The Kitchen #1 – B

(B) The Kitchen follows three women whose mobster husbands have been sent to prison.  So basically, it’s Mob Wives, but instead of you feeling bad about watching trashy reality all day instead of organizing your garage, you can now read the same storyline in a comic in 15 minutes!  And honestly, it was better than reality TV.  Set in the 70’s, the story feels a little like Charlie’s Angels, with the blonde, brunette and redhead.  But ya’know if they were in the Mob and didn’t give a single fuck.  The three women must make do with their lives sans husbands, and by the end of the first issue, they have already gotten themselves into a mess. But oddly, I find myself rooting for them.  – Adrian

(B-) I’m usually a big fan of crime books, but The Kitchen just doesn’t quite do it for me. I’m not saying it’s bad, just not really my cup of tea. The story of The Kitchen follows the lives of three mob wives learning how to live after their husbands are put away for five years. The three women handle it their mob lifestyle in different ways. Kathy, the toughest of the three does her best to pick up where he husband left off, even to the point of picking up protection money. The other two are a little more toned-down characters. The art isn’t bad but the lines around the faces of the women are a little too dark and age the characters I think more than they need to be. Perhaps that’s to better convey the hardened lifestyle they live.  The Kitchen is good enough to keep up on it for now, but I hope that it picks up a little more. – Scott

Earth 2: World’s End #6 – C

Well, things are all over the place again, and like before, it’s not bad, it’s just a lot of information to cram into a couple dozen pages. The cliffhanger from the last issue is disappointing and I was definitely hoping that it was going to go in a different direction, but, who knows; things will probably still head to that end, anyway. – Cody

The New 52 – Future’s End #28 – F

I… Don’t… Care…  Those three words perfectly sums up how I felt about this entire issue of Future’s End.  Here’s the thing – the plot is so confusing and mutilated that when an issue drops and it focuses solely on this butchered storyline, all it makes me want to do eat a hamster.  I know that doesn’t make any sense!!!  That’s the point!!!!  This issue COULD have been saved IF the faceoff between Terry McGinnis and Bruce Wayne would have been as epic as the cover art indicated, but noooo.  All I got was a grappling hook to the foot and a broken window.  Wasted time and effort on this one folks.  Be warned. – Taylor

Dynamite Entertainment:

Django/Zorro #1 – C

This comic was probably my most highly anticipated release for this week.  Django Unchained was my favorite movie of 2012.  As a kid, I used to pretend I was Don Diego himself – swinging rapier like sticks in the backyard, carving “Z”s into the tree trunks.  In fewer words: I was PUMPED!!  Well, with great expectations comes the risk feeling great disappointment.  Risk not adverted.  Before I go further let me disclaim, I did enjoy this issue and I’m looking forward to the follow up issues very much.  What irked me about this first issue was that it was far too much buildup.  I know who Django is and how deadly he is with a pistol, and I’m acutely familiar with Zorro’s unmatched fighting ability and cunning; you don’t have to spend 70% of the issue building up to what we already know!!  I guess the important thing is that these two badass vigilantes are finally together and are planning to stir it up big-time in Arizona.  Not quite the BANG-SLASH intro I was hoping for, but an intro nonetheless. – Taylor

Alice Cooper #3 – C

The story for this series is dark and brooding, as expected, and offers the brand and style Alice Cooper has grown to be known and loved for. That is where the parallels end between the music career and the comic of Alice Cooper. As great as it is to see him in the limelight again, I wish it were in another capacity as these comics definitely leave something to be desired.  The art is actually quite fantastic, but the story just seems rushed with not much focus and it is kind of just gliding by the seats of its pants. Not to say as a fan of Alice that I don’t enjoy it every month but only get this book if you are a big fan of Alice Cooper and his mythology; otherwise, this series offers nothing too incredible to entice you into caring. – Jacob

 

IDW Comics:

Star Trek #38 – B

Reeling after the surprise death of the last issue, we see the crew still separated, multiple threats appearing, alliances disappearing, Q being the scheming bastard he always is, and new allies and friendships forming. I have thoroughly enjoyed this crossover of every Star Trek property, but this issue it left me wanting a bit more as I felt they really grounded themselves with certain characters and wasted or not even used very good characters from the entire franchise. Instead, they choose to focus on characters that may seem minor to those that only really know TOS and TNG. I would still say that this series is a Star Trek fan’s dream no matter what series and Captain you follow; now, if only we could see Captain Janeway appear, this may have been a grade A issue. – Jacob

Black Dynamite #4 – C+

If you are looking for any sort of cohesive story, keep on keepin’ on; this is not the book for you. Black Dynamite books have been completely random, with no real direction. However, it is good for a laugh. In this issue, Dynamite takes on the shoe industry after a famous basketball player is murdered when attempting an alley-oop from half-court completed by Evel Knievel while jumping over three Ford Pintos – pretty standard stuff here. Either you love Black Dynamite, or you think he’s one of the most ridiculous things on paper. I will say that the writers have found a good medium to keep the book at without going overboard… just in time for this to be the final issue. If you like Black Dynamite, you might enjoy the animated series, which returned to adult swim on Saturday, 10/18. – Sherif

October Faction #2 – C-

(C) The first issue of October Faction started off strong (or maybe I told myself it did because of how much I adore Steve Niles) but sadly issue #2 did not take that momentum and run with it. In all honestly it fell a little flat. The most recent installment focused entirely on building the story, the only problem is that it was still a little too vague at times and not so compelling at others. Overall, it just moved a little slow. They introduced a few new beasts, a werewolf and what I can only assume is a killer robot, which I like because it at least hints that down the road we may get to witness some epic battles and meet some cool characters. The members of the hunting family were building to be interesting but I don’t feel like they are developed enough by this point that they are likable or not, they merely exist. I wish I could say more, I really do, because I am so rooting for this series to take off and be amazing, but for now it really is just kind of fell dead in its tracks. – Keriann

(D+) October Faction’s initial release had me intrigued. It’s first issue had style, timing, and all the hall markers of a good story building into something more. The second issue took all of that build up only to bring you right back down to earth, and not in that nice gentle way that generally comes to mind. Think sky diver without a parachute type of coming to earth. Like a bad second date, I finished reading October Faction’s second issue feeling as if I was staring at a beer in a restaurant, wondering why I even bothered. That’s a harsh review, I know, but this issue is almost all fluff. Filler and family drama that could have just as easily been squeezed from a bad sitcom or a teenage family lifetime movie. It has it’s twists and a new character that could lead to something very interesting down the line, but when it comes to this issue it’s too little too late. So let’s hope this is just a lull proceeding the storm because when it comes to issue #2, October Faction left me wanting in all the worst ways. – Zach

The Bigger Bang – D+

I went into this one intrigued by the idea of a second Big Bang. If you read the Origin Story on inside cover (which I didn’t at first), it explains the idea of a second Big Bang or Bigger Big Bang that destroyed the universe we live in and in the wreckage was left this new multiverse in which the comic takes place. This had so much potential. It’s too bad it was executed so poorly. The two biggest problems I have with this comic is the melodramatic tone and the dialogue. Honestly, it reads like the half-formed idea of a sad teenage boy. I’m TIRED of the atonement-seeking hero and while I understand that *SPOILER* the hero’s whole thing is survivor’s guilt, it doesn’t come across as such. The character has no reason to save the people he does. There’s nothing driving him forward, or at least nothing that is revealed to the reader. The dialogue tells us everything flat out. I know the cliche “show don’t tell” is getting old, but apparently the author of this comic has never heard of it. I didn’t need to be told flat out that Captain Wayne (who is arguably the only redeemable character in the comic) doesn’t understand why she’s being ordered to kill the hero. She doesn’t need to say that. I get it that she’s torn and if I didn’t, there would have been a better way to go about making that clear than saying “but he seems so kind!” The only reason I would recommend this to someone is if they were a studio artist, because the art is actually quite good, even though it seems a bit out of place set in space. – Charlotte

 

Image Comics:

The Walking Dead #134 – B+

(A-) There’s finally some conflict and traction in The Walking Dead. After about a half-dozen issues of catching back up with current times, we have quite a situation on our hands. Carl and Sophia are finally the tag team we always knew they would be, and we get a better glimpse of who the heck these guys attacking travelers are. I love the concept of these meat sack guys (that’s what I’m calling them for now), and I cannot wait to see more of their background story. The best part of this issue, hands down, has to be the multiple pages of Adlard’s work that show Jesus going off on the meat sacks. Even though a team of people have had encounters with the meat sacks, I think only a couple of them know what they actually are – and bringing one back to camp is a good way to find out. – Sherif

(B) This series continues to be the best it’s ever been. Whatever these things are, it’s messed up. This issue has a couple big moments but the one that stands out to me the most happens between Carl and Sophia. This issue did a lot in terms of setting up a new B story and finally getting some hope that were going to find out what these things are that are attacking everyone. Seems pretty obvious, but, you never really know with this series. – Cody

Wytches #2 – B

Wytches lost some momentum this week, but overall it still held pretty strong as one of the best horror books out right now. Issue #2 was a little convoluted and it definitely lacked the cold brutality that made the first issue pop so much, but it was still a solid read with a good flow. There was more of a focus this time around on the Rooks family members and how they are each dealing, but there was still a healthy helping of super creepy and what the hell is that moments – especially at the end after Sailor hijacks a school bus and runs out to the woods to escape confront her demons. There was good sprinkling of exciting things are to come, so even though this month’s Wytches may have been a little tame, it was still the best book I read all week and I’m certainly looking forward to the next issue. – Keriann

Drifter #1 – C+

(A-) Drifter is a sci-fi with a little bit of post-apocalyptic flavor. A so far nameless man crash lands on a planet that doesn’t quite have a working society. He wakes up in a Mad Max style outpost town after his crash, and after being shot by the way. So far the characters are nameless, there is the crash landed pilot, a medic, and the man who shot him. One thing I did notice that I didn’t really care for was that some of the conversations don’t seem to make sense. More than once I felt like there were questions being answered before they were asked. What Drifter really has going for it is the art. Nic Klein does an outstanding job. The colors are particularly outstanding. Drifter is definitely one to pick up this week. I’m sure it will worth the read every issue. – Scott

(D) To be honest, I’m not sure what to make of this book. It started off kind of choppy and had a very Pitch Black feel to it, but the lead character has less charisma overall than Riddick has in his pinky finger. To be fair, he actually has less charisma than that girl who dressed as boy to be cool that nobody liked. But I’m getting carried away in the wrong direction; it’s just that remembering watching Pitch Black is more interesting to me than this book was. The dialogue is way too fragmented; no one speaks in complete sentences and that’s annoying to read over and over. The characters just use have thought out metaphors and what I think is supposed to be gritty just sounds like bad writing with no real flow to it. So far the plot does not seem well thought out, or at least it comes of that way. Drifter seems to really miss its own point, at least so far. The characters were without depth and they all spoke like Steven Segal, or the villains from his movies. The plot is too choppy and tries to be mysterious without revealing anything to actually give it a hook so why should I care? Short answer: I don’t. Long answer: See above. – Keriann

American Legends #2 – C

American Legends returns with its second issue and this time around I think it might actually be growing on me. I’ve come to accept that this story is basically going to be The Dukes of Hazzard featuring a handful of historic characters and now it’s easier for me to sit back and enjoy the ride. The book isn’t great; the writing is full of camp and, frankly, it’s not that clever or funny, but it is at least kind of enjoyable if you can just take it for what it is. Issue #2 progresses the story a bit more; although, it is still unclear of exactly what point they might be building to. It also introduces a few new historical characters into the mix. Unfortunately, Sacagawea is kind of lackluster considering she should be awesome and there is so much they could have done with her along the lines of historical embellishment intermingled with fantasy. At least the explanation of how the feud between the Hatfield’s and McCoy’s started is kind of funny. Other than that gem, Sally Thunder’s insanely giant boobs that pop out of her shirt in basically every panel and a few nearly unbearable “Duke Boys” moments between Crockett and Fink, American Legends #2 really didn’t have a whole lot to offer. – Keriann

Copperhead #3 – C

(C) The mostly dull sci-fi-western, Copperhead, continued this week.  Being largely unimpressed and barely intrigued after the first two issues, I expected more of the same.  In that regard – I was not let down.  The story is progressing much too slowly to really keep me interested; this is one of the poorer uses of the comic book medium I’ve seen lately.  A few dozen pages isn’t much to work with; it’s important to hit readers hard and fast to keep us interested!  By this point I’m expecting twists, gadgets or anything new and different.  The thing saving this review from a “D” grade is the twist (if you can call it that) revolving around Ishmael, the artificial-human dessert nomad, and his involvement with the mass murder of an alien-hillbilly family.  While floating among pages of lackluster content, I was immediately sucked in at the last two pages of the issue.  I hope issue #4 keeps me drawn in – I don’t know if I can take much more of this boring space adventure (if you can call it that either). – Taylor

(C) This series continues to be good, if not a little one dimensional. Things are panning out just as you’d expect in any cop drama and it’s unfortunate. I’d really like to see some cosmic cowboy justice but it just isn’t happening yet. The one thing that keeps me coming back is the art and how unique everything seems. – Cody

Marvel:

Spider-Verse #1 – A

Spider-Man is quickly becoming my favorite superhero.  Mostly because there are an infinite number of him (and her, and ham).  Even though Spider-Verse #1 did nothing to advance the plot-at-large that is the “Spider-Verse Event,” it did a great job of showcasing the many different ways one can enjoy Spidey.  Comprised of three mini-stories and two even more-mini stories (all with different writers and authors) I found myself really enjoying the wide birth of Spider-Man experiences brought to life on the panel.  My particular favorite was Steampunk Lady Spider!  I don’t even understand Steampunk, but I really dig Lady Reilly and her gizmo-geared-spider-contraption suit!!  At its core, this issue is just flat out fun.  It’s refreshing to be able to take a step back from the epic epic about to take place and just enjoy a comic for the sake of it.  The comic book community is having a lot of fun with this Spider-Verse event.  You should definitely join in if you haven’t already. – Taylor

Avengers & X-Men: Axis #5 – A-

This week’s issue pretty much opened up the entire plot for what seems to be the rest of the series. Without spoiling too much, we see many people changing sides, unlikely team-ups, and Apocalypse is here – which is never a sign that thing will go well. So things are not looking so good here after the events of Red Onslaught as he is now free and hiding out somewhere for the time being while all the heroes kind of duke it between one another hoping something will be resolved. The art has been very consistent and enjoyable for this whole series and offers up some great iconic images along the way and the story is definitely the best of the major Marvel events so far this year. – Jacob

Superior Iron Man #1 – B+

I have to admit, I have not been an avid Iron Man reader, ever. In fact, aside from Extremis, this is the first Iron Man-titled book I have ever read. I quite enjoyed this. The Tony Stark we get here is very much a product of his bout with alcoholism, as well as his fatally narcissistic personality from the movies. This time, Stark has created the Extremis 3.0 app, which lets people experience perfection. However, the app was released as a free trial – and the cost to re-up is $100 a day. Superior will try to shed light on people’s addiction to physical flawlessness and technological enhancement – something I don’t doubt will be reflected back onto Stark himself, who insists on playing God to other humans. There is a ton of sarcastic humor in this, which is what makes Iron Man such an enjoyable character. There’s trouble to be had in San Francisco, and I certainly aim to be around when it happens. – Sherif

All-New Captain America #1 – B

Sam Wilson has finally put on the suit, and he looks damn good in it. While the former Falcon attempts a routine mission to save a kid hostage, he’s met by Batroc the Leaper. While the issue itself doesn’t really break any boundaries or set any new standards, it is really fun to read, and the cute comments about Sam getting acclimated to the shield give the issue a whimsical tone. I also loved Batroc’s attacks on American culture and addressing the adversity that Wilson will have to overcome to be respected by Cap’s enemies. It would have been nice to get a little more development out of the issue, but it was a strong start. – Sherif

Miles Morales: Ultimate Spider-Man #7 – B-

What the whaaa…!?!?!? I’m not sure what just happened… But I think it was awesome! I feel a little guilty about it, but I like this issue in spite of itself. There’s plenty of action, zero story, and a little bit of extra something(s) thrown in at the end for good measure. The art is as crisp as I’ve come to expect from this series, yet the action (not to mention the current storyline) is still a bit confusing to follow at times. Maybe this ties into Spider-Verse. Maybe we’re getting the Ultimate version of another mainstream character. Maybe this is all a dream… I don’t know, and I don’t think you will either. I’m thoroughly confused, but I’m still unabashedly along for the ride. – Jumoke

Thor #2 – C

(C+) This issue really didn’t do a whole lot for me and was kind of just filler it seems. I know they are not going to reveal everything right off the bat, but when you are dealing with a very short weekly story to try and entice fans I kind of hope that there is a little character progression past, the thoughts of ”I have the power of Thor now! Cool! I’ll just beat up this guy and this guy and oh, no I am not really Thor. I’m just a woman with his hammer who doesn’t know how to use it yet.” For someone who seems to have spent a lot of time around Thor and his friends and knows an awful lot about them, she should probably know a little more about Mjolnir than she seemed to have. Either way, it is just the intro to the whole grand scheme and intro are always difficult even for the best stories. Despite the little things that bugged me personally, the story and art are both wonderful and offer us something we never thought would happen. So I am sure this will improve in time and it is good to see more badass women in comics, albeit the Thor armor sure got a lot more revealing when a woman picked up the hammer… – Jacob

(C) While this issue of Thor was better than it’s 1st issue, it still feels off.  We were finally able to see the female Thor in action, but the writers are making it very clear that she isn’t actually Thor.  Then why title the book as such?  Just to create controversy? I don’t think that is necessarily the best idea.  This issue put female-Thor (they have yet to give her a name) on Earth to battle Ice Giants who have frozen the Avengers.  While the idea is neat, it seems premature.  We have yet to even know the lady’s name and she is forced to save the biggest names in Marvel.  While some of the dialogue was clever, it was extremely exposition heavy.  I think if Thor has been a favorite of yours, this book is up your alley, but if not, it may have already failed. – Adrian

Hawkeye vs. Deadpool #2 – B-

(B) Kate Bishop! Kate Bishop! Kate Bishop! This month’s Hawkeye vs Deadpool was a really enjoyable read. What I love about this comic is how relatable, funny, and well executed the characters are. Both Clint and Kate are awkward as all hell and it makes the comic all the greater. All the characters read not as high-class, 100% serious, “Get-out-of-my-way-I’ve-got-shit-to-do” heroes, but as real people who just happened to save the world frequently. While the comic has its serious parts and there’s a definite urgency to get the precious files on S.H.I.E.L.D. agents into the rightful hands, it is also largely funny. I was constantly laughing at the bickering interactions between Clint and Deadpool and the hilarious one-liners and general quirkiness of Kate. I also love how similar Clint and Kate are and the friendship between them is really enjoyable to read. One thing that I really appreciate in this story arc as a whole, is that they address the fact that Clint is deaf. They joke around with it (without being offensive) in scenes where Clint can’t read Deadpool’s lips because of his mask, which Deadpool comedically takes advantage of when he’s asking Clint for permission to do something but really doesn’t want an answer. This comic is definitely a must read for both Hawkeye and Deadpool fans alike – and if you’re a Kate Bishop fan, you’ll be happy with how present she is in this issue. I’m super-excited for what is to come in this story arc. – Charlotte

(C) From what started off as great chemistry between Hawkeye and Deadpool has turned into a slop of an adventure with no real direction or desire to find an endpoint in two more installments. There are still a lot of cute lines and subtle jokes made throughout the book, but it lacks any of the pop that sold me on the last couple issues. The inclusion of Kate Bishop is pretty helpful, as the banter between her an Deadpool is flat-out adorable, but the issue begins to drag on when all they do is talk about how Kate is better than Hawk guy. Even the twist at the end loses its impact when there is such a lack of cohesion throughout the rest of the book. – Sherif

Captain Marvel #9 – D

The only shred of anything that saved this week’s issue was the vague cliffhanger.  Otherwise, I am so disappointed in how this series is shaping out.  This week, Lila Cheney, mutant rockstar who can teleport, lands on Captain Marvel’s ship and takes Captain Marvel and Tic to a planet that only speaks in rhyme. Yeah, the whole book rhymes.  The point of going to the planet is to stop Lila’s marriage to a boy she made a pact with as a kid. It seems really early to introduce a character like Lila, how has added little to no value to the Marvel Universe in the 30 years she’s been around. It could have waited until issue, I don’t know, never.  It’s almost as if someone at Marvel was like, “Hey it’s cool that you wanted to write a story about Captain Marvel and have her be a bad ass woman and all, but this month, you must insert Lila Cheney, the story line must be inconsequential, and it must all rhyme!”  Bleh. – Adrian

Death of Wolverine: The Logan Legacy #4 – D

I keep getting my hopes up that the next character covered in this series will have a better story to offer than the last, but yet again that is not the case here. Although, I am trying to read the entire Death of Wolverine series and spin offs, I am finding out that very few of the issues of this event whether the main story line or one of the one-shots offer anything substantial. This particular issue left me rather confused and made me question not only why I read it, but also why it was written in the first place. It does offer a good look into Lady Deathstrike, but by the end I was not sure of her intentions or her true feeling for Wolverine. I would say unless you are already invested in the series, or just a huge Wolverine fan, then this entire series will be a been a let down for what should have been quite a great look into how Wolverine’s closest connections handle his death. – Jacob

Funniest Panel:

Black Dynamite #4
Black Dynamite #4

 

Panel with the Most Awesomeness:

spider lady steampunk

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 10-22-14

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:

The Flash #35

 

The Flash #35 – A

With the new CW television show really taking off, it’s important that we don’t forget that Barry Allen has a super-awesome story going on in his New52 series. In an maligned attempt to stop the Speed Force from becoming further disrupted, Barry has traveled back in time to kill his present self. It’s a concept that may lose others not familiar with the book’s tendency to skip around in time, but the fallen hero angle is a great look for The Flash. There is a particular reveal in this issue that will make long-time fans giggle with joy, but whether or not this character sticks around is yet to be seen. Simply put, The Flash is an incredibly well-done book each month, and with the new series doing making such an impression, it’s time the rest of the world realizes that, too. – Sherif

Other Reviews: 

Boom! Studios:

Memetic #1 – B

(A) Holy balls, this book is awesome. Memetic is a story about the end of the world like we’ve never heard before and it’s honestly kind of terrifying. Memetic #1 starts on an average day in the life of a college student, he’s in a text fight with his boyfriend and perusing Reddit, Facebook, and Twitter when he sees a kind of creepy meme of a sloth giving a thumbs up. People are obsessing over it and talking about how it gives them a euphoric feeling simply to gaze upon it and suddenly the idea of our society being destroyed by our own mindless obsession with all things internet is introduced. This is a 48 page special edition and I have to say, it did not feel like it. It was a quick read and I was hooked pretty early on. The characters are well written; I actually give a damn about them. The writing is compelling and I honestly had fearful reactions to it, which in my opinion is really impressive. My stomach sank at the right times, and the dark places the story goes are genuinely pretty creepy. I mean, rage zombies are a scary son of a bitch am I right? I’m not going to lie, as I read through it there were times when it seemed a little silly. The idea of “Meme Warfare” is kind of absurd, mostly because I have no idea how such a thing would even be possible, but aside from that I have no qualms up to this point. Memetic is scary, it’s bloody, it’s smart, and while it may be a little elitist with its obvious “Our obsession with technology will be our own downfall” message I would absolutely recommend it to anyone who likes a good horror book or anyone who’s ever scrolled through their Facebook feed and felt like humanity really is doomed. – Keriann

(C+) I adore the idea of the apocalypse. Is that weird to say? That I really like the idea of slews of people dying so I can struggle to survive? Admittedly it is, but it’s also true. So Memetic seemed like the perfect place to port some time into this week. Who doesn’t want an evening stroll down a blood covered lane to see all that the end of the world has to offer? So I geared up, counted how many days of food I had stored in my house and dived in eyes wide shut. Memetic takes an age old apocalyptic story and tries to give it a twist. I can’t explain the details because half of the fun is finding out in what way the apocalypse will take shape (you understand, right?), but what I am willing to reveal is that what Memetic tries to do so artfully, that new twist, falls flat for me. The word memetic is the idea of Darwinian cultural information transfer. That like language or fire, certain information transcends geography and time because it is simply necessary. What Memetic does is use that same theory to turn that idea of survival backwards, and through that idea the world is thrown into a chaos. That being said, this book does a lot of things right. Witty and funny dialogue, simple yet well designed art, complex characters, and the protagonist is gay which I happen to really like (I like characters that break the script). There’s a lot of promise between those pages and like any good Shakespearian play, setting the stage is as important as the main act.  So while I may be lukewarm on this issue as a stand alone, I will be walking on down that blood covered lane trying to survive another day, all the while expecting bigger and better things. – Zach

Dark Horse:

Predator: Fire & Stone #1 – A

I’m in love with the Dark Horse Fire & Stone storyline! Weaving together the cornerstone Alien and Predator worlds with the newer Prometheus and Alien vs. Predator spin-offs, this adventure has raised my expectations of each of these franchises. Each entry in the Fire & Stone series does an exceptional job of staying true to the host title AND weaving in with the other arcs. This is especially notable considering that nothing is in chronological order at this point. Now that I think about it, Fire & Stone has demonstrated one of the best uses of the comic medium that I’ve ever seen. I’m certainly enjoying these issues WAY more than I enjoyed Aliens vs. Predators: Requiem. If you haven’t started on these yet I recommend it! Be sure to read in the order they’ve been released though! I promise it will add to the experience. – Taylor

Father’s Day #1 – B-
 
Father’s Day is a new four part comic by the creator of Dark Horse Comics himself, Mike Richardson. This book is a fast-paced, mobster crime mystery following Silas aka The Eastside Butcher, and his daughter Denise.  Silas left his life of crime 20 years ago to protect his daughter.  But when Denise comes looking for him, she accidentally brings the mob with her.  The book never lulled, but I found Denise’s incessant questions annoying.  She slightly redeemed herself at the end, but I really hope her character grows up fast.  My favorite part of the book was the art.  It is so crisp with incredibly bright colors; it was eye candy for sure.  I look forward to getting to know the Eastside Butcher more, but I’m really looking forward to more incredible art. – Adrian

DC/Vertigo:

Deathstroke #1 – A-
You know what DC is missing? Some good, old fashioned violence. It’s been a while since we’ve gotten to experience high octane action from start to finish starring a recognizable character that’s just plain fun to read. Well, it seems we’re in luck, because Deathstroke is here. Written and pencilled by the legendary Tony Daniels (Batman: Battle for the Cowl), this debut is style over substance all the way, and that’s just kinda the guy Slade Wilson is. You’ll find a very adult book in this new series that is very reminiscent of anime, with lots of blood and even more crazy plot twists, but if that’s your thing, you will LOVE this book. It’s a nice departure from the norm at DC, and I hope that it will continue to dazzle me. – Sherif
Superman #35 – B
We knew the time was going to come sooner or later for Superman and Ulysses to butt heads, but I didn’t see this plot twist coming. Superstar creative team Geoff Johns and John Romita Jr. have been tearing it up since Superman #32, but this issue has hinted at the first real conflict of this arc. We get a legitimate threat in The Machinist, but it seems that Ulysses’ handling of Earth’s perchance to violence in a way that Superman will surely not approve of. While we’re just scratching the surface of Superman’s true psyche, there’s no question that the Blue Boy Scout is making a comeback. – Sherif

Arkham ManorC+

(A-) This is a very interesting concept. Arkham Asylum has been destroyed and Wayne Manor has become the new location to house it former occupants. I don’t have a lot to say about this, but, I enjoyed it quite a bit. It is very much an exposition issue and sets us up for, what I hope to be, a very enjoyable read. I did have one glaring problem with this book, all of the characters looked like various versions of Jay Leno…what’s with big chins? Either way, give this one a go as Batman has to fight his enemies in his childhood bedroom. – Cody

(D) It’s just not that good. The writing is boring and the art just doesn’t fit. Batman looks like he hasn’t eaten in a week. I honestly was turned off and bored rather quickly. I did not find it worth to finish the book. – Scott

Earth 2: World’s End #3 – C-

Wow, a lot happened in 20 pages. This had a little bit of everything and that wasn’t necessarily good. This one picked up where last week’s left off in that things are still all over the place. It’s becoming difficult to keep track of everything and everyone. I’m starting to lose interest so hopefully they reel this thing in a bit. – Cody

Multiversity – The Just #1 – D

Let me be clear. The only thing keep me from flunking this comic is Ben Oliver’s art work. About the only redeeming quality of Multiversity – The Just is the awesome character detail and composition. The Just was terrible. Almost every cardinal sin of telling a parallel universe/multidimensional story was perpetrated in this new DC series. Overflowing with unnecessary complexity, bastardizing beloved characters, panels containing superfluous and perplexing content, failure to focus the story or provide a plot, inability to harness potential (this story actually had all the necessary pieces that could have made it great), and my list goes on and on. This was the most massive disappointment I experienced all week. I’d steer clear if I were you. This one isn’t worth the time. – Taylor

 

IDW Comics:

TMNT/Ghostbusters #1 – B+

(A) I’ll admit, this is the first Turtles book I’ve read, and I loved it! A great mash up starts between the Ghostbusters and the Turtles and it’s executed wonderfully and stayed true to both franchises. The art was really great and I appreciated the change in styles. In fact, this book was drawn by three different people, one for each plane of existence. I especially liked the ghost that the Ghostbusters fight.  Does anyone else think it looks like Mike Wazowski? I’ll definitely be reading the next issue and you should definitely read it, too. It’s a great, fun Halloween read! – Cody

(A) I was as wary of this series as I was excited for the X-Files: Conspiracy crossover with the Lone Gunmen. I felt that series left each story a little short and didn’t put enough focus on each different property they were crossing over with. This one seem to be more grounded, well-written and, hey, they both live in New York (despite it being other dimensions). The artwork is solid and the story so far has been great and will only improve now that the two teams have met and know the conflict. I am not sure I even need to tell anyone to read this – and if you need convincing, you need a huge 80s culture slap to the head. – Jacob

(B-) Yes you read that correctly, adolescent fighting reptiles team up with those crazy guys who fight ghosts but have cheesy commercials. Is it as awesome as it sounds? No, not really, but it is a wonderful piece of nostalgia for people like myself. The writing is little cornball. If you watched the Ghostbusters cartoon as a kid like me, you’ll understand what I mean. If you’d like to know what I mean, head to YouTube and find The Real Ghostbusters. I appreciate that both groups make early reference to the films, even if the turtles are referring to Turtles in Time. The art is pretty average, very cartoony, but that’s to be expected and doesn’t bother me. The only art qualm I have are the Ghostbusters themselves; they don’t really represent the characters I grew up on. None of the Ghostbusters really look like what you would expect, especially Winston, who is awkwardly big lipped. This first issue is just interesting enough for me to continue the series. It survives a lot on the nostalgia factor. -Scott

Samurai Jack #13 – B

We last left Jack with basically no hope and no way to fight Aku because his magical sword had been destroyed. With this, Jack was left to wonder the earth in hiding as Aku sent out killers and posted wanted posters all over the place to capture Jack.  Will he find a way to defeat Aku without his sword and finally find it back to his time? Well it is highly likely the first one will happen but don’t expect a happy ending just yet. The art in this series has continually been fantastic and this arc is by far the most. If you a fan of Jack please get the back issues, and try and catch up as this is all leading up to something big. – Jacob

Edward Scissorhands #1 – B-

(B+) Oh man, IDW are you living inside my mind? Because you seem to publish books about everything I love. With that being said, this Edward Scissorhands series is going to be a lot different from the story of the film and they make damn sure you know that as it takes place many years in the future. Kim from the film is dead from the start and the human it focuses on is her granddaughter. So the whole town will be different and the only person you will recognize is Edward. The art alone is wonderful, and even reminds me a bit of the animated Beetlejuice. The story seems good so far, setting up Edward to be a hero of sort instead of the wanted murderer the town saw him as at the end of the film. If you love the original film, or Tim Burton in general, do yourself a favor and pick this up. – Jacob

(C) This is a tough one for me, as I think it will be for anyone who has a love for the movie Edward Scissorhands. I have preconceived ideas about how this book should be, and unfortunately that does not quite work in its favor. The writing isn’t bad, the story is even pretty interesting, albeit not what I was imagining. This miniseries will apparently tell the story of Kim’s (Winona Ryder) granddaughter as she goes to find the monster man her grandmother used to tell her about before she died. Meanwhile Edward has been up in his house, doing his thing, being lonely… The story seems sweet enough but it’s already gone in a strange direction with Edward finding another “boy creation” from The Inventor, but this one seems to like murdering rats for some reason. It’s weird and frankly it doesn’t make sense and I don’t like it. At least Edward is written as a gentle and sweet and Kim’s granddaughter seems to share her spunky rebellious nature. My biggest problem with this book is absolutely the artwork. Don’t get me wrong, I will never be the person to insult someone’s craft, but the imagery just does not fit with this world. The drawings are cutesy and would fit way better in a Sunday morning comic strip or children’s book. The dark world of Tim Burton is no place for cutesy cartoonish drawings and it’s not just distracting, it honestly brings the book down a few notches for me. I would recommend that lovers of the movie give Edward Scissorhands #1 a try, but if you’re not a fan of the movie or have never seen it for some insane reason then I wouldn’t bother because you’ll probably hate it. Overall Edward Scissorhands is not a bad read, it’s just telling a story no one was asking to hear. – Keriann

The X-Files: Season 10 #17 – B-

Shits’ going down in X-Files; well, I guess that is true all the time, but now we get a peek into another series coming out soon of Millennium by bringing in another Chris Carter-created character Frank Black to help with the current case in this series. I personally can’t wait for Frank Black to have a bigger role and his own series starting soon as Millenium was a very underrated show that was different but lived in the same universe as X-Files. The case to bring these two together for both series requires a psychic like Frank Black so within both series we will see Mulder and Frank investigating the strange happening going on. I really do love the art of this series, but if only they could create well-lit scenes, that would make it feel a little more normal as the shadows are über-extreme. However, the writing in this issue was really good and hopefully they will keep it up here and have a great crossover going on here. – Jacob

Super Secret Crisis War! Cow and Chicken #1 – C+

I always liked Cow and Chicken but it was a cartoon that was along the same vein of Ren and Stimpy with very gross humor and an abnormal amount of butt shots. This kept my mom from letting us watch too much of it, but it still brings back very good memories and this issue captured the nature of the show perfectly, even the abnormal amount of butt shots of the characters. The story felt way too long for what was happening and ended with anything to really show for it. So although it is enjoyable as a stand-alone Cow and Chicken comic, it does not connect nearly as well as the past one shots to the main story line. – Jacob

The X-Files: Year Zero #4 – C

Two X-Files books in the same week! That is definitely awesome for any fan of the franchise. This mini-series has only one issue left until we finally finish off the first case in X-Files history. Personally, I have felt this is the weakest entry of X-Files‘ tenure at IDW but it still offers a good story into the history of something we never knew we wanted to know. We have Werewolfs, weird Demons/Aliens being calling themselves Zero/Xero, and all sort of weird Hijinks going on connecting a current case to the first case. I am hoping next month’s finale gives us a good ending that will finish this story up well but if it continues the way it is now it will likely be a lack luster ending. The art of this series is a bit too simple for my taste, as it looks like someone took a cartoon and added shadow to try and make it look detailed which gives it an interesting look but overall a bit distracting when reading a serious story. – Jacob

Image Comics:

The Walking Dead #133 – B

(B) The roller coaster is still climbing upward! The shroud of eerie mystery surrounding “The Whisperers” continues to give my bones goosebumps! The living society is so strong and calm at this stage of the game. I know – because it is, after all, THE Walking Dead – that everything will come crashing down in the most phenomenal fashion. To think of the magnitude of the threat needed to bring Rick and team to their knees is mind-blowing. It’s coming and it’s tearing me up and I love it! I’ve also come up with a theory. I think the deliberate absence and failure to mention Michonne issue after issue is significant and connected to The Whisperers. All this unsubstantiated and only in my head at this point, but you don’t just drop an all-time fan favorite without offering even the smallest modicum of an explanation. We’re due for a punch to the gut very soon Hush-fans! Brace yourselves! – Taylor

(B) The group continues to live in relative peace and harmony, but those weirdos are still out there. A lot of stuff goes down in this issue, none of which will make Rick happy. We get a bit more of those Leatherface wannabes and they sure are an interesting bunch of “people” who are guaranteed to give you nightmares. Some of the character building in this one was a little stale, I’m just not a big fan of romances during zombie apocalypses so that was a bit tedious to get through. Rosita has done something totally uncool to poor nerdy Eugene and he takes it like a man like that would. I have a feeling things are going to get really heavy, really soon so get to reading because TWD has never been this good. – Cody

Goners #1 – C

I applaud any effort to build a story based on the merging of something “real” with something otherworldly. In Goners case, this merging would be that of the human world as you and I know it and the realm of the paranormal. The concept is solid. The delivery, less-so. The structure of an individual comic issue does not support multi-themed story telling. Reading this premiere issue, I found myself distracted and uninterested in the softer, family oriented parts of the issue. I wanted more creepy ghouls and intense action (this aspect being the other theme throughout)! By the time I ran out of pages the fishing hook had just been cast – it never had an opportunity to land. I’ll give it one more issue before I call it quits. – Taylor

 

Marvel:

Avengers & X-Men Axis #3 – B+

This series has definitely proven to be really entertaining and has already had a battle spanning three issues. In this particular issue, the plot lines takes a huge right turn from what has been set up until now, and we see the Villains come in to combat Red Onslaught as we saw in the last panel of last months issue. I am hoping something else comes up in this story because it will be hard to top the already epic battle. The art is definitely great and the story line is one of the better Marvel events I have read this year. – Jacob

Deadpool #36 – B

This Deadpool issue ties in heavily to the Avengers & X-Men Axis issue this month and even takes a lot of its story directly from the pages of Axis since Deadpool played a large role in this week’s issue. That doesn’t mean this issue does not have its own story. It starts where last month’s issue left off, with Deadpool donating his organs to his friends, the Faux-Men, at the X-Mansion to help them live, and then go crazy from there. As always, for the main Deadpool series, the art is great and although a bunch of this issue covers stuff you already know if you read Axis it still gives us the story through Deadpool’s eyes, and that usually can always give a story a boost in the right direction. – Jacob

Amazing Spider-Man #8 – B-
With the Spider-Verse arc rearing its head, every Spidey-issue coming out is another piece to this huge puzzle, and we are finally getting to point where the bigger picture is becoming more clear. Before that, though, we are subjected to the painfully adorable team-up of Peter Parker and Kamala Khan. It’s not that I don’t think Ms. Marvel needs to team up with other heroes to get recognition, but it certainly seems the way Marvel feels about her. There are some cute lines and well-drawn panels, but this is really Spider-Man’s book, and this issue didn’t really feel like it until the epilogue, a story that was well worthy of it’s own Edge of Spider-Verse title. I’m very excited to see where that arc brings us, but in the thick of it all, there really isn’t time for cross-title shenanigans. – Sherif

Death of Wolverine: The Logan Legacy #2 – B-

The stories stemming from Wolverine’s death seem to have a much more interesting story than his death itself (although I found it beautiful in its own way). But this series had an initial beginning issue covering all of Wolverine’s closet friends and foe. Now each issue is covering one of those characters and a story of what Wolverine meant to them. This week we got to see X-23, Wolverine’s female clone. who he took in as a daughter and trained. Although this isn’t the best story, I would still give this series a chance as it is going to show us so many different aspects of who Wolverine is and how much he really did do to keep the entire Marvel universe together. – Jacob

 

Funniest Panel:

Amazing Spider-Man #8
Amazing Spider-Man #8

Panel with the Most Awesomeness:

Deathstroke #1
Deathstroke #1

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 10-15-14

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:

Justice League #35

Justice League #35 – A

(A) Amidst all the mindless superhero nonsense that we get every week, there is the occasional book that takes time to transpire an uplifting message about what it means to be somebody’s hero. It would be a great complement to DC’s We Can Be Heroes if it weren’t for the fact that it was all fabricated B/S! LexCorps merger with Wayne Enterprises pits two of the most powerful mortals against each other in an entertaining battle of the wits. While this is just a prologue for the next arc, the way it is approached opens a can of worms, and kept me entertained the whole way through. Geoff Johns does it again, and new readers will find this an appropriate time to jump on the JL bandwagon. – Sherif
(A) This issue brings us to a new story arc. Lex Luthor is still a part of the Justice League and is announcing LexCorp partnership with Wayne Enterprises. I enjoyed this issue quite a bit. We get to see Lex and Bruce match wits and it is quite the show. Joe Prado and Ivan Reis take over for the art in this issue which is always good in my book. You can see in Lex’s face that  he’s up to something. With a shocking ending that will have you thinking of certain current events, I would definitely recommend you give this one a read. You don’t need to have read the previous 34 issues, and these sort of story lines tend to be my favorites! – Cody

Other Reviews: 

Boom! Studios:

Lumberjanes #7 – C

This story is totally picking up. It’s finally found its stride and doesn’t feel so all over the place anymore. It’s a really solid young adult comic centered on a group of dynamic kick-ass girls. I like that we are finally getting behind the mystery going on in the camp and all the creatures that have been attacking. We all know if Greek Gods are at play then everyone is in danger. There is something still super fishy with the camp director and I wonder when the Bear Woman is going to come back into the picture. And this week, the story ended on a pretty crazy cliffhanger. I’m really looking forward to how it might resolve. – Jené

Dark Horse:

Prometheus Fire & Stone #2 – A

I’ve been anxiously anticipating the second issue of Prometheus Fire & Stone. The first issue was masterfully done and left me on the edge of my seat. My return to the mysterious alien jungle this week was a rewarding experience. Where the first issue was eerie and suspenseful, the follow up was full of bloody mayhem! The issue was full of death, more super-cool alien animals and face huggers! I’m surprised that after 8 or so movies I still love watching bumbling adventurers’ first encounters with face huggers. The gruesome revelation of their true purpose and results are timeless. I really applaud Paul Tobin this issue. The issue’s conclusion presents a very interesting scenario and could elevate this story to an even higher level! Ever wonder what a cyborg alien might look like? It’s just a tease at this point, but I’m excited as I was at the end of the first issue. One more thing… Alien sharks are my new favorite animal. – Taylor

DC/Vertigo:

Batman and Robin #35 – B+
The uber-arc that writer Peter Tomasi and penciller Patrick Gleason have been working on since the New52 launched is 35 issues in… and things are just starting to heat up. We know Batman isn’t afraid to walk right through the fires of hell to save others, but what happens when that becomes more than a metaphor? Batman and Robin#35 happens! Equipped with the Hellbat suit, forged by the entire Justice League, Batman is ready to trade blows with a GOD to get his son’s body back. The issue is a great showing for not just Batman, but the whole Bat-family, who decides to go after him. There’s humor and action and sentiment; it’s the perfect action movie – in comic book form. Go read Batman and Robin, as it’s one of the most consistently good titles out now, but will not make a whole lot of sense unless you’ve kept up with it. – Sherif

Earth 2: World’s End #2 – C+

I was hoping that this series would find it’s footing this week and … it kind of did. There’s still a lot going on and our heroes are spread out across the world to fight Apokolips. This one definitely had more of a story to follow, but, it really jumped around a lot. It was almost like every page was something different and that got a bit distracting at times. The villain was good and she is definitely someone you don’t want to mess with. Definitely give it a shot if you’re interested in the Justice League but read it with a bit of an open mind. – Cody

The New 52: Future’s End #24 – C

Same story, different day… “Five years from now.” Ugh. I cannot stress how slow moving this story is. I often forget that I’m reading Future’s End weekly! It’s tough to reflect on a story where the same thing happens every issue. All of the characters that I can remember are in the same situation they were in 10 issues ago. Nothing resembling a conclusion or big finale is in sight. Questions continue to pile up. Week to week it’s starting to feel like I open up the issue and then proceed to flip a dozen pages containing nothing more than “BLAH BLAH BLAH” on every page. Maybe my attention span is too short or perhaps I don’t have enough background to fully appreciate what’s happening. It could also be impatience. I image that once the series is over it will make for a great compilation book. Hmm… that doesn’t sound like a bad strategy now that I say it out loud… – Taylor

Dynamite:

Alice Cooper #2 – C-

I have never really understood why I like Alice Cooper because as a person he is nothing like his character, actually almost the exact opposite. I like his music but can’t name many songs of his. This is kind of how I feel about this series as I feel like I am trying to like it because it is Alice Cooper, but the actual story is nothing to get excited about. This issue got real dark at the end and kind of out of nowhere. It made the series turn a totally different direction than what they had set up in the first two issues. I would say if you are a die hard Alice Copper fan, give the series a try, but avoid this title if Alice Cooper is not in your music collection at all. – Jacob

IDW Comics:

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #39 – A-

A complete beat down of almost every mutant in the series so far, and most of them are on the side of good (well kind of). It is a beat down of Bebop and Rocksteady against Old Hobs army, Three Turtles, Splinter, and you can’t forget Alopex who joins everyone back in New York as well. Nothing much gets accomplished in this issue besides a bigger divide between Donnie and the rest of TMNT. I loved this issue because it was a great way to show off all the mutants in one giant fight. The Hermit Crab fan in me is going nuts seeing his fight alongside the Turtles. This was definitely a good stand-alone issue and a continuing the story for those keeping up. – Jacob

Image Comics:

Cutter #3 – C-

I’m struggling to find the words to describe Cutter #3, but all I can come up with is: the story continued, and it still isn’t interesting. It’s crossed into somewhat unbelievable territory, as in people who you thought were dead can dig themselves out of their own grave and start killing people and no one seems to mind or question how insane that is. I know that in horror stories the reader has to allow the suspension of belief so that things like this can happen, but why are none of the characters in Cutter questioning it? Oh it’s no big deal, we all killed this girl as teenagers but now she’s killing us off as adults because she never actually died but maybe she did and she’s just undead now. Sounds legit. The story picked up a little bit at the end, but still Cutter #3 is lazy, and boring even though it doesn’t seem to know it. Maybe I don’t know it either because I just keep reading it. – Keriann

Trees #6 – D+

(C-) I like Warren Ellis and I know that he weaves am intricate and engrossing story. It’s just rather a slow build at the moment and a lot of readers may have a hard time sticking it through. I can tell that the story it gearing up to a moment that will catapult the story along. Up until now, the books have been about meeting the characters and setting up the plot. It’s kind of like the first 20 min of a film before the big event. It’s feeling slower than I would like though. As much as like liked the conversation between Uncle and Chengei I wanted more progression of the plot, which didn’t happen till the last panel of the book. I don’t know if it’s a book that you can skip, seeing how massive of a story this seems to be, but you might not get the enjoyment you’re hoping for compared to the last book. – Jené

(D) Dear Trees, I hate you. Not necessarily because you have really wasted my time up to now, not because your premise really intrigued me and you’ve let me down time and time again, not even because in issue 6 you wasted even more of my time discussing the sexual pleasures of some confused kid. I hate you because after all the bullshit, when I had finally decided I was done with you, in the last two pages of issue #6 you FINALLY suggested that something of worth pertaining to alien life might actually happen and you convinced me to give you one more shot. Trees has not been the most compelling read up to this point, its slow moving and issue #6 is no exception. Maybe it’s me, perhaps I got into this book for all the wrong reasons when I wanted to read about alien life showing up on earth in the form of vacant structures that haunt the landscape and not about the lives and problems of certain individuals who live in the towns where said alien structures are. Trees is a character driven book and frankly I don’t really care about the characters. Not because they’re bad, but because they merely take away from what I thought this story was supposed to be about. I’m not saying that nothing of interest happens, but it may be the slowest moving in book in the history of ever. Issue #6 merely continues on the slow moving path to Nowheresville. As I mentioned earlier, the only thing worth mentioning is that the most recent issue seems to end with a slight cliffhanger that suggests the story may take off from here. I didn’t enjoy reading this book, but I will give issue #7 a chance because of that, even if I do hate myself for it. – Keriann

Marvel:

Death of Wolverine #4 – A-

Yeah, yeah I know this whole Death of Wolverine thing has gone on for a really long time and the story up until now has been a bit weak, but now that he is dead in this issue, we can all relax and take a look back at the hero everyone, even non-comic fans, have grown to love. The ultimate arc here seemed dull up until this point and led me to think Wolverine was not going to get the ending he deserved, but I felt the way things went gave him a great arc and a satisfying death that was beautiful in a way and left the reader knowing he is as dead as dead can be… That is not saying he wont be back. I hope they bring him back but in a fashion of a new Marvel universe reboot where it is a new universe, or just stories from his past. Although the events leading up to this issue were not the best, the last couple pages of this left me feeling overwhelmingly satisfied at the life and death of one of my favorite heroes. – Jacob

Uncanny X-Men #27 – A-
There isn’t a book I’ve read with a greater sense of consequence than this issue of Uncanny X-Men in quite some time – a book that leaves you wide-eyed and open-mouthed at the anticipation of what’s to come. After the jaw-dropping “Last Will and Testament of Charles Xavier,” the bombs get louder and louder. I do not want to spoil much, but this issue looks to mark the beginning of a very dark time for Scott Summers. It looks as though he did not learn his lesson from the Phoenix Force not to play with fire. This is a thrill-ride from start to finish, and the story sparks what would be the greatest and most relevant debate in recent comic book history. Should a mutant’s powers be suppressed if they are deemed “too dangerous?” – Sherif

Avengers & X-Men Axis #2 – B-

Well Marvel, what a lovely book of death you have here! But in all seriousness, these first two issues I think I have seen more great characters die or “die” (read the issue) than in most of the Marvel books I have read this year. Not to say it is a bad thing, but a little overwhelming at first. Red Onslaught brings down more terror upon our heroes and the end seem near… again, as I am sure it will every issue. The story so far has been rather good, and even if I dislike Cyclops, it is good to see him being a hero again, despite his storyline right now in the comics. – Jacob

Deadpool’s Art of War #1 – B+

(A) What a solid concept! Sun Tzu’s Art of War as interpreted (and influenced) by Deadpool. I was sold before opening up the issue. I bow with much respect to David Peter for merging the hilarious musings of Deadpool with one of the most renowned strategic texts of the past TWO millennia. It’s expectedly funny throughout, but what’s particularly well done is how Tzu’s ancient lessons and instructions are demonstrated on the panel. Deadpool pit’s Loki and Thor against one another, employing the war general’s philosophies upon the Gods of Asgard. While the brother’s armies duel, Deadpool narrates quotes directly from Art of War. It’s magnificent. I suggest you all pick up a copy this week and follow along. There is much to learn from the now wise and insightful Deadpool. – Taylor

(B) This first issue was not the best, but the idea and the art definitely deserve a high rating. The only reason I did not give it an A is because of the confusing writing. I am sure the series will improve, but I felt they tried to explain why this was happening a little too much instead of just letting the story play out. I have had a copy of Sun Tzu’s Art of War for many years and is one of the many books on my to read list, so I’m not versed in the source material, but I found Deadpool’s way of explaining a bit confusing. I am guessing that it will explained, because comic usually explain themselves sooner or later. – Jacob

Death of Wolverine: The Logan Legacy #1 – B-

I am very intrigued by the idea of this as it is all of Wolverine’s best rivals teaming up or at least being captured for reasons we don’t know. I have a soft spot in my heart for all things Wolverine, and although Daken and X-23 may be the ones I know the least about they still are major characters in the life of Logan/ James Howlett/ Wolverine. Not much is explained in this issue but a sight of the guy who captured them all and the fact they may have all been under control of Abraham Cornelius who ran Weapon X.  I hope the series keeps up momentum with the issues focusing on each character and we get to learn more about the past of Wolverine that although explained many times still seems like the biggest mystery in comics. – Jacob

Original Sins Annual #1 – B-

(A) This was a fun one. Original Sins is a good action sci-fi, IN THE PAST! It starts with Howard Stark and Nick Fury placing the body of an intergalactic war hero into a portal leading to an alien sun. This man was Woodrow McCord, one time protégé of a similar character Stafford, who kind of looks like Space Santa. But instead of delivering gifts he delivers flaming hot death to alien invaders. He’s an all around old guy badass. I think the best thing from this issue was Woodrow alluding to H. G. Wells’ novel War of the Worlds actually happening. The story is fun with all of the laser blasts and evil alien bad guys a man like myself could ask for. I really enjoy the art, the lines are a little softer than most books and the colors are slightly muted except when they need to be bright and powerful, like with laser blasts and the like. It’s an interesting story with characters I’ve never known before. I will be keeping up on Original Sins for sure. – Scott

(D+) I have to admit I didn’t really want to read this issue as the whole Original Sin event left me rather disappointed, but decided to pick this up because I felt it may give us a part of the story that would ultimately make me happy. But this story was so completely unneeded, and, to me, didn’t add anything to the story besides giving us a story we never thought of, knew about, or wanted and felt like it was almost a way to make another quick $5 off of people. As a stand-alone story with some small references to Nick Fury and Howard Stark, it was actually an entertaining read but when connected with Original Sin it felt totally useless to any advance of story besides what we already. – Jacob

Storm #4 – B- 

For an issue that is directly related to Death of Wolverine #4, Storm had absolutely nothing to do with it. When telling friends about what happened in Storm #4, we actually had a good laugh about it. Me: “So Storm cried for like 2 seconds about Logan’s death. Which for two people who were lovers seems like not enough time. Then she created some Aurora Borealis thing… or some Ororo Borealis thing (see what I did there?) out of anger. Then she wound up in Las Vegas and told Yukio that Logan was dead. But Yukio is in a wheelchair. So then she tried to jump off a building.” Them: “How did she jump off a building if she’s in a wheelchair? Did she fling herself off?” Me: “I don’t know. But then Storm saved her in some cloud thing. Then they got on an elevator and wound up in some basement Fight Club thing and now Storm has to be Yukio’s Fight Club Champion.” How do any of these things relate? I’m not sure. Why such a high grade? I thought the 80’s style montage of Storm and Wolverine’s relationship was beautiful. And even though it makes no sense, I am very intrigued by this Fight Club thing. Let’s see how Storm gets out of this one next month! – Adrian

Hulk #7 – C+
While I wouldn’t exactly say that The Hulk has been neglected as a whole by Marvel, but he sure has been a token character with not a lot of purpose since Indestructible Hulk ended. This new Hulk series is definitely giving Hulk something new, but I’m not sure I buy into it. In attempt to “cure” other Gamma-radiated beings, he has made an anti-Gamma vaccine to reverse the effects. Hulk vs. The Hulks is a great concept, but what does any of it mean? Will it be canon? Why is it so easy for the Hulk, sorry Doc Green, to get the upper hand? The whole thing feels like a bad dream, and I’ll be sorely disappointed if the rest of the series goes that way, too. – Sherif

Edge of the Spider-Verse #5 – D

My favorite movie last year was Pacific Rim (A++). Neon Genesis Evangelion is one of my favorite Anime series of all time (it’s basically Pacific Rim in Japanese). You can imagine my jubilation upon seeing the cover for this week’s Edge of the Spider-Verse at the end of the last issue. To no minor degree, I was PUMPED to see Spider-Man as a Japanese fighting robot. I hate to say that my burning heart has condensed into a frozen block of ice. Two thumbs down for SP//dr. Here are the top three reasons this story was a failure. (1) It made ZERO sense. Peni Parker (this Spider-Verse’s protagonist) pilots a Spider-suit to fight crime in Japan. But, somewhere in there she has special abilities (maybe???). Not once was it clear how Peni is special and why some random bum in Tokyo couldn’t don this badass suit and save the day. (2) It was much too similar to issue #3 of Edge of Spider-Verse where Aaron Aikman also wore a gadgetized Spider-suit. As badass as it was, the SP//dr suit was pretty much double the size of an average person with nothing else going for it except that it was made of metal and had headphones built in. It would have been a much better statement if SP//dr had been a 30 story tall, lumbering juggernaut (ergo the awesomeness of Pacific Rim). Imagine how badass it would have been to see all the multidimensional Spidey’s posing on a giant Spider-Man robot!! (3) Nothing happened. Literally. There was basically no plot. No notable bad guy, no underlining theme. Nada… Hard to have an adventure with no story. With the Spider-Verse event around the corner I hope that Marvel has better plans for SP//dr. Otherwise, I hope the power-cells run dry real fast for Peni Parker. – Taylor

Funniest Panel:

Deadpool's Art of War #1
Deadpool’s Art of War #1

 

Panel with the Most Awesomeness:

 

Batman and Robin #35
Batman and Robin #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, Dynamite Entertainment, DC and Marvel for putting out great books.

Comic Book Reviews 10-08-14

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:

 Birthright #1Birthright #1 – A

(A+) First of all, kudos to Joshua Williamson for coming up with yet another fantastic original idea. Birthright tells the story of what could happen when a child disappears in the woods. As in, the child could have just gone missing, or, he could have been called off to another realm where he alone is the chosen one picked to defeat an evil king and free all creatures from his torment. Whoa. Now that is something I may not have considered. Birthright #1 comes out swinging and grabbed my interest right away. It’s a great mixture of adventure, originality, and genuine heartfelt emotion. It is very well written, and the character introduction was so successful that I already care about them. I was sad when they were sad, excited when they were excited and so on. I truly enjoyed reading this book and even though the ending was a little strange, I am very excited to read what will happen next. Williamson tells very unique stories and Birthright falls in line with his other projects in that fashion. Good fantasy comics are few and far between these days but I think Birthright will make a name for itself in a very short time. It’s compelling, well written, endearing, and exciting. – Keriann

(A) I am not often surprised. But f***ing hell I was surprised by this book. I thought I had it figured out, but panel after panel I was questioning myself and then Mikey came back into this reality. The kid gets lost into another dimension and then spit back a year later only to find that he is some dragon slayer. You know that it’s going to be a brother against brother story, but you have no idea how it’s going to play out. Well done, well done. Go f***ing read it  RIGHT now!!! – Jené

(A) Ok, Joshua Williamson, you’ve hooked me again. Birthright is the story of Mikey. Mikey is playing catch with his dad, and the ball goes into the woods. Mikey goes to get the ball, and disappears. After investigations and media scrutiny, Mikey’s dad is publicly blamed for the disappearance of his son. That is until Mikey returns, as a grown man and full-on demon hunter. Williamson says this idea came to him because as a child of the 80’s, all his favorite movies had kids going on great adventures and returning to normal life like nothing happened. He likes to think there are consequences to our… birthrights. The story flowed so easily. I felt like I was reading a comic version of every 80’s movie that I love, also. I absolutely loved the art, too. The coloring was perfect for each seen, depending on the mood of the characters. I am definitely looking forward to where Mikey is going.. or rather where he has been. –Adrian

Other Reviews: 

Archie Comics:

Sabrina #1 – B

Attention 90’s kids: this is not your childhood Sabrina. If you were like me, you ran home after school and tuned into Sabrina the Teenage Witch, laughed at Salem, scoffed at Libby, and wished you lived in a cool house like Sabrina Spellman did. That version is long gone, friends. The new comic Sabrina is dark and twisted. Especially for an Archie Comic. This story takes place in the 50’s and 60’s, giving it a little bit of a Bewitched vibe, but in an American Horror Story type way. The grotesque is definitely evident. All of this is not to say it was bad; in fact, I did enjoy it, but I was wearing rose colored glasses until Sabrina’s father has her mother committed to the asylum – and that was one of things that was easier to swallow. There are a few new characters, but the book does a good job of keeping some symbolism of the T.V. series. After all, what is a witch without her familiar? And Salem is as sharp as ever. – Adrian

Boom! Studios:

Hexed #3 – C+

While this month’s issue of Hexed was a step up from last month’s, the series still hasn’t gotten its groove. I find some of the quips laugh out loud funny, but as a whole, the story relies too much on the unclear rules of the supernatural world. The first story arc has been surrounding the main character, Lucifer, being dead and trying to get out of that seemingly permanent predicament. I find it odd that the heroine has been dead this whole time. I don’t mind dead main characters, but there has been no history for the audience established, so I find it hard to care. I also strongly dislike how much is emphasized on the supernatural, and that none of it makes sense. I have always been a fan of witchcraft and demons, but usually when a story is strong without that aspect. However, I did think this month’s issue did a good job in the humor department and gave us a pretty decent cliffhanger. Let’s hope next month’s issue takes a step back from so much fantasy and gets into some character development. –Adrian

DC/Vertigo:

Batman #35 – A

(A) Most weeks, I read a lot more comics than I review. Some of them I don’t feel are worth reviewing, so when an issue like Batman #35 comes out, it is like a breath of fresh air. After reading this issue, I also obsessively stalked Scott Snyder so I could find out his literary path. And it was because of the Orestes reference at the beginning (and his epilogue in Wytches, also out this week) that made me realize that he has a strong background in literature. Turns out, I was very under-schooled in one of the best writers in comics right now. On top of the outstanding writing, the artwork is flawless. I am amazed out how much detail Greg Capullo can fit into his part of the story telling – and don’t be fooled, Capullo is a master of story telling in the same capacity Snyder is. I felt this issue was incredibly poetic. It was clear that this is the beginning of an unforgettable story arc, especially with the big reveal on the last page. And unlike Orestes, who gets his deus ex machina, Batman and Gotham may be out of gods to swoop in to save them, but then again, when did Batman need to be saved? – Adrian

(A) With Zero Year finally in the books, I was pretty giddy to begin what Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo have referred to as the grittiest and most epic story they’ve done yet. Considering the past few stories have been: Zero Year, Death of the Family and Court of Owls, this is quite the boast. This issue did not disappoint – it actually terrified; “HE’S BAAAAAAAAACK!” Capullo and Snyder are at it again, and they have formed the perfect marriage on Batman, to all of our pleasure. It doesn’t really matter if you have read the last 34 issues, because this is the perfect jumping on point to see the best creative team in the business. – Sherif

The New 52: Future’s End #23 – B

The New 52 Future’s End series does an exceptional job of disappointing me and entertaining me all at the same time. Predominantly I feel as though this story is being dragged out much too excessively. A series so overflowing and crammed with characters should be much more deliberate. I’m losing patience in the snails-pace journey to the climax. The thing that gets me every issue are the jaw-dropping moments that keep me hungry for the next issue. My “B” grade for this issue of Future’s End is solely attributed to the jaw dropping moment that occurred at the end of the issue. One of our beloved heroes undergoes a most disturbing transformation. This new development is bound to be exciting, but ultimately it’s just another puzzle piece in this already complex and muddy storyline. My simple mind can only take so much more complexity before it shuts down completely. – Taylor

Earth 2: World’s End #1 – C+
There’s a lot to take in here, so be prepared to read it a couple times. Apokolips is attacking and it’s up to Earth 2’s version of the Justice League to take him down. Don’t get to attached to anyone cause they may not make it as Apokolips’ minions are pretty ruthless. The art is good and the heroes outfits are unique enough without copy the originals too much. The story is decent and hopefully will become a little more grounded next week. This is definitely worth a read for any DC fan.  – Cody

Klarion #1 – C-

(B) My first reaction was WOW it’s sooo pretty and hypnotic. The artist Trevor McCarthy and colorist Guy Major did a phenomenal job. I spent a lot of time just staring at each panel. At times it felt a little overwhelming and chaotic, but appropriate for a multiverse narrative. The panels are also something I would love on my walls and on my desktop. If anything, I am going to check out what else they have worked on. My second though: multiverse… science meets magic FUCK YEAH.  Interesting, interesting, interesting. It’s like cyber-tech-punk with a mixture of gothic alchemy in the same setting. The art seems to be relaying more of the story then the writing at the moment and the dialogue between the characters is rather awkward, but still somehow fitting as if everything is a dream and the natural order doesn’t exist. The book is kind of a puzzle. But, some sort of order is involved, people who watch events happen, and people who mean to intervene. I’m really intrigued to see what will come next. I think this series is going impress and amaze. – Jené

(D-) Do yourself a favor – think more Wytches, less “witches.” I get that it’s Halloween and DC wants to explore more of their supernatural characters in time for the spookiest time of the year, but Klarion is not the way to go. I will concede that he is much more tolerable than his animated companion, but I have no damn clue what just happened in this book. It tried to seem modern and futuristic, but relied too heavily on the presumption that we understood the world we were reading into, which is made even more convoluted by the busy artwork. I’m sorry Klarion, it’s 2014 and, still, nobody likes you. – Sherif

Batgirl #35 – D

I am so disappointed with this issue of Batgirl, it almost marred her Future’s End one-shot for me (which I loved). I know that the two stories are totally different, and that this is a new start with new writers, but if this Barbara Gordon is supposed to be how she was in the Future’s End story, there has got to be a HUGE transformation. This issue was ultimately inconsequential and a waste of time. While the story (Barbara’s computer was stolen, and other tech from other college students was also stolen) was a pathetic attempt to connect to a younger audience, the characters were an even worse attempt. Full of references to Tinder, Instagram, and the ubiquitous hashtag, this issue was shoving 20-something hipsterdom down our throats like the Jehovah Witness did with The Watchtower when he knocked on my door yesterday. And while this may appeal to a much younger audience, portraying Barbara Gordon as a partying, drinking, overly sexualized “hero” who “accidently” set Black Canary’s stuff on fire, perhaps this isn’t the way to inspire a new generation of impressionable comic fans. But I would hope that even 12-year-olds who take pictures of their food would see through the bull that this issue provided. – Adrian

IDW Comics:

The October Faction #1 – B+

(A-) Now this is a story I could potentially get behind. Anyone familiar with Steve Niles knows that he is a master of modern horror and monsters. The October Faction appears to be no exception. As is the case with most first issues, a lot of time was spent establishing characters and the universe they exist within so at times it felt like a slightly slow read. However, Niles did a great job of drawing the reader in with intriguing characters and a dark background that creates a lot of questions. He is doing what he knows best, which is obviously monsters, but this time he has introduced us to a family of apparent monster hunters, some of who may have supernatural inclinations in their own right. The story line is not overly strong yet, that is to say the book didn’t start off with a bang, but its subtle introduction got the job done. The dialogue is cheeky and charming, a Niles trademark, and the artwork, done by Damien Worm, is stunning and at times is more reminiscent of an old haunted painting than it is a comic book. Needless to say it is a great fit and it enhances Niles writing quite well. – Keriann

(B) The October Faction almost lost me in the first few pages, but I want to emphasize the almost in this sentence. Social outcasts with powers in the unnatural find ways to triumph over their rude and evil high school tormentors whilst embarking on adventures among’st the supernatural. It’s a wet dream for those that love monsters and hated high school, and while the setting and plot aren’t really my bag (that’s right… I said my bag like I’m Austin Powers, baby!) it is done artfully with exquisite dialogue and morbid yet decorous art. The comic seems to shift and turn in story line at just the right moments with writing that is neither to heady or to low brow. It is definitely geared to those seeking the alternative. If you have a love of the dead or simply the eternal, this is right up your alley. Even if you don’t, this is a comic that shows an immense amount of promise and this reader will be awaiting The October’s Faction’s next release to see if it builds upon it. – Zach
Dead Squad #1 – D+

Dead Squad is a foray into a military thriller with a sci-fi twist. A small delta squad detachment is turned rogue via double cross and must find redemption, and revenge. That’s right, you guessed it, we are diving straight into A-Team waters. It’s an interesting premise, and one this reader was excited to explore. Unfortunately I was left wanting. It’s a first issue, that’s to be expected, but while Dead Squad has a few twists and turns, this adventure into the lives of three elite soldiers is laden with cliche one liners and a plethora of the expected. It is by far more action than content, and if you’re looking for action porn, this is a dive worth taking. Otherwise, it brings nothing special to the table. The art is fitting but not memorable with writing that has thus far been bound in mediocrity. The story does have some grip to it, and I’m hoping the upcoming issues make up for the lack luster start. Only time will tell, but stay tuned, it’s issue #1.Dead Squad could take a turn for the better! At least, that’s what I’m hoping. – Zach

Image Comics:

Wytches #1 – A
As you’d expect, this issue was a lot of exposition and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. I was hoping for a good horror story for Halloween and Wytches delivers, being written by Scott Snyder, that’s not surprising. From the super dark opening panels, to the super creepy last ones, this was a very intriguing read. The protagonists, the Rooks family, are troubled by a recent event involving their daughter and have moved in order to try to distance themselves from what happened. Unfortunately, what happened was national news and everyone at school knows what Sail Rooks has been a part of. There are some exceptionally disturbing images, courtesy of Jock, that will make you think twice next time you’re near a tree. You’re definitely going to want to read this on some dark night with as many lights off as possible and prepare to be scared. – Cody

Sex Criminals #8 – B+

This book continues to make me laugh in ways that I never thought I would feel comfortable in doing so. Let’s just say that this is not the type of book you take out in the middle of the library. After the culmination that ended in a dildo sword fight (that’s exactly what I mean) in issue #7, John and Suzie have decided to take a break, Ross and Rachel style. The result here is a LOT of dialogue, but instead of the usual awkward sex banter, we have ornate character development – and even manage to meet a couple new characters. If you are repulsed by the off-hand nature of which cervixes and brimping (brimper.com, it’s a thing) is talked about, then this will never be the book for you. However, those readers in their 20-30’s who can handle the honesty of adulthood will find them instantly attached to Sex Criminals. – Sherif

Black Science #9 – B

The wait between issues of Black Science always seem so unbearably long. Every issue so far has left readers on the edge of a multidimensional cliff. Each issue has been creative, adventurous, intense and visually stunning. Issue #9 maintains this trend! With the group of dimensionauts split into two smaller groups, Remender has begun working two sub-plots into the panels. Because the story is so character driven these sub-plots have been very nice treats for us readers. So prepare to grow even more elated because Remender added a third sub-plot in this week’s issue. And in true Black Science fashion – it’s earth shattering. I’m so excited to see how all these moving parts intertwine and impact one another. This roller coaster ride through the Eververse just keeps getting better. – Taylor

Copperhead #2 – C

(C+) Well, it’s had a bit of a rough start, but, I’m still enjoying Copperhead. They still seem to be building to something but we’re just not getting there yet. Kind of hard to stay interested month to month if that keeps up. However, next month we should start to see the story come together a bit more. My favorite part has to be the art, mainly I like looking at all the aliens. We get introduced to a couple new characters this month, one of which is totally badass and may perhaps turn out to be our antagonist, but, who knows. We’ll have to wait until next month. – Cody

(C) I’m a bit torn on this series. The first issue of Copperhead, I felt, was basic and only mildly interesting. I picked up issue #2 this week to see if that impression would stick. For the most part it did. The plot progressed in the most marginal fashion and character focus was mostly dull. The highlights of this issue revolved around the mysterious badlands and the introduction of the inebriated doctor. I think issue #3 will make or break Copperhead. Pivotal moments are abound and if they fall flat in the next issue I think I’ll take this book out behind the space barn and put a plasma bolt between its eyes. -Taylor

Cutter #2 – C-

(C) So it turns out that people are really hard to convince that a ghost is hunting them. We still haven’t quite gotten the background on what happened to this supposed ghost, other than she was fairly mistreated by half the town. Although for me it’s kind of a stretch to think someone is killing from beyond the grave because of some people that were less than kind. I’m still enjoying the art; it hasn’t gotten stale. The character and plot development just isn’t quite there for me. The story this week went in the zombie direction with the group of townspeople holding up in a fortified location with fire arms, but hasn’t that been done enough? Cutter is just barely holding on to my attention. – Scott

(D) The second issue of Cutter tries once again to get the reader enthralled with a less than gripping plot. They spared the blood and gore for this issue, except for the very end, and relied solely on the story to keep the pages turning. I respect the effort, the problem is that the book has yet to reach a point where I care. There is no character development, no one compelling, interesting, or endearing so I find myself not rooting for anyone to survive in a book where people are seemingly being picked off one by one. The key to successful horror is in the characterization. If there is no strong hero, or monster, the story will inevitably fail because with no one to root for, horror just become pointless carnage. The second issue also walked a lazy line between the supernatural and real world terrors, but it was written in a way that was almost insulting. If you want me to believe that a ghost may be exacting revenge from the grave, fine, but then please explain to me where it got a car and how it drives it around. Cutter doesn’t offer anything in the way of originality or emotion. The only page turning quality it has is my need for it to just be done already. – Keriann

Punks #1 – F-

Don’t bother. – Scott

Marvel:

Avengers & X-Men: Axis #1- B+

(A-) I am definitely behind a lot of the stories that join into this Axis event. At the start I was a bit lost. But the writer does give you a couple pages worth of back story to catch you up to where this event starts. I have to say the idea behind this may end up being better than the execution. So far the big bads Red Onslaught and Ahab have really handed the Avengers and X-Men’s asses to them on a platter and it is not looking too good for anyone during this first issue. I feel from the start that this event will be better than Original Sin and include more characters we all know and love and some most of us have no idea who they are. The art so far has been great with no complaints from me and the story has been good with hope that it will be great in issue #2 next week. – Jacob

(B) You couldn’t start out anymore randomly then having Iron Man and the lot suddenly fighting Plantman of all villains. Immediately you know that something bigger is on the way, and shortly our hero’s minds are infiltrated. Red Skull/Red Onslaught as the most powerful psychic on the planet, now that’s a proper problem. The art is standard fare; I did particularly like the inside of Red Onslaught’s psyche though. The writing isn’t bad but when all of the heroes show up at the end there is an endless chain of witty retorts and one-liners that is kind of hokey. The heart of this issue comes at the very end, it’s just interesting enough to keep a reader going and it’s all Tony’s fault. – Scott

Rocket Raccoon #4 – B
(A-) Rocket finally meets that murderous raccoon who has been framing him, or does he? I was really looking forward to finding out more about this mysterious raccoon, and I was not disappointed. Skottie Young obviously has respect for Rocket’s original stories which is great because he could have taken it in an entirely different direction, but, I for one am, glad he went the way he did. A lot of things happen to poor Rocket in this issue, (some of which is deserved) but, we get to see more emotion than we’ve seen from him before. It is nice to get some depth with the character. My only complaint would be the unoriginal ending, hopefully, it will all work out. More and more, these Guardians books are becoming my favorite things in comics, check ’em all out, but, start with Rocket. – Cody
(B-) I have LOVED this series so far and Skottie Young’s art is great for a Rocket book, but something about this issue irked me a bit. It still was a good story and really showed us a lot of who Rocket is but the whole storyline with the other Raccoon just ended rather badly, only to set up almost the exact same story. Either way I imagine it will lead into something better and that it ultimately wont have a cop out ending. – Jacob

Hawkeye vs. Deadpool #1 – B+

(A-) I have to admit this was my most interesting read of the week. The complete opposite personalities of these two heroes makes for a rather enjoyable story. This series will definitely be a fun and rather hilarious adventure with these two. But why is it Hawkeye VERSUS Deadpool? Sure they have had a couple small arguments but are they not on the same side in this story? I just don’t understand why it can’t be Hawkeye & Deadpool instead. Maybe we will see them fight at some point… But still the title aside, this issue was great. – Jacob

(B) It’s a lot of fun reading anything with Deadpool in it. Issue #1 of Hawkeye vs. Deadpool is no exception. I found myself smiling and laughing at almost every panel focused on the Merc with the Mouth. There is a lot of contemporary humor peppered through the issue that adds to the enjoyment. Unfortunately, that’s the only thing going for this series so far. The plot is somewhat interesting, but at best it will serve to complement the amusing antics of Deadpool and Hawkeye. I’m okay with that. I doubt there are many people out there that pick up a Deadpool comic for the “story line.” If you think the same way, then you’ll enjoy this issue. – Taylor

Captain Marvel #8 – B-

The first issue of Captain Marvel allowed me to fall in love with this medium all over again. I was enthralled with the art and the story and the heroine. I’m still enthralled, I just thought that when Carol Danvers was going to space to find the edge of herself, it would be … more about finding herself. While I like the dynamic between Rocket Raccoon, Carol, and the flerken cat Chewie, I felt this issue was major filler. I don’t mind filler when a story has been going on for a bit, but I feel we are still in the beginnings of this story, and Chewie laying eggs isn’t about Carol finding herself. I hope that the story can find it’s way back to the root of intention; otherwise, it could just be a trope, which would be a shame for the best stand-alone female Marvel has right now. – Adrian

Funniest Panel:

Hawkeye vs. Deadpool #1

Panel with the Most Awesomeness:

Batman #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, Dynamite Entertainment, DC and Marvel for putting out great books.