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.

Comic Book Reviews 10-01-14

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 Walking Dead #132

The Walking Dead #132 – A

(A) Holy crap, Hushsters! This issue blew all my expectations out of the water, taking what could have been a cheesy concept that George Romero is following now and making it one of the most frightening things I’ve ever seen in The Walking Dead – and if you’ve been following the series so far, you know just how exciting that is. I’m teeming with excitement at the thought of what is to come, for this issue is the equivalent of a graphic showing a TWD Calvin pissing all over George Romero. With the secrets unfolded in this issue, the series goes from soap opera to full-blown horror story again. Charlie Adlard’s art deserves all the credit that, and maybe more than, writer Robert Kirkman does. His art is instrumental in the story-telling, and the book succeeds by being succinct with the dialogue. If you haven’t picked up The Walking Dead in a few issues, this is a good place to jump on, but the anticipation has been building for a few issues now. – Sherif

(A) After Negan’s capture I have loved everything since. I really enjoyed the Negan story (as much as a person can enjoy a story that gruesome) but, this is the best writing Kirkman has done so far and I’m glad I’ve stuck with it until now. Last month’s issue gave us our first real look that everything may not be all right anymore. This month’s issue further explores that idea, and, well, things can’t be good forever, it is The Walking Dead after all. – Cody

(A) This month’s issue of TWD kept its momentum.  There’s been a huge and looming question surrounding the latest threat facing our band of survivors.  We received a glimpse into the heart of this threat and let me tell you – it’s pretty damn gross.  But awesome and ensnaring too.  To be honest, this latest twist is something I expected, but that’s okay.  The proverbial bucket of shit is full again and that ceiling fan is starting to spin pretty fast – I hope Grimes and crew are ready to duck!  I do have one concern – that the direction of the story is headed could be one we’ve already experienced.  What a monumental waste of opportunity that would be.  I’d be utterly remorseful to see this development fizzle into a familiar theme just dressed in a new suit.  I’m mostly confident that Kirkman won’t squander this chance to take the plot to a new level. – Taylor

Other Reviews: 

Boom! Studios:

Fiction Squad #1 – B

(B+) Fiction Squad #1 gets off to a good start with introducing its abstract take on every day stories. Paul Jenkins did a great job of creating a compelling alternate world that immediately drew me in and made me want to know more. I enjoyed Fiction Squad #1; it was cute and creative. It was not the most ground-breaking thing I’ve ever read, but while it does repeat ideas and principles I’ve seen before, I was not turned off by that fact. The writing is charming and gritty, with a great comedic edge. The characters are likable and fit perfectly into their universe of nursery rhymes, be it the actual rhyme characters or the Nicholas Angel like detective who is living in their midst and cleaning up the streets. I really liked the art work, there is a wonderful use of color and a cartoon style to fit the child like themes, but it is still adult enough to fit the crime noir motif. My only qualm is with the depiction of the female characters. Somehow the abnormally large busts and heaving cleavage just don’t fit the art style used in every other panel. – Keriann

(B) Fiction Squad is a fairy tale, crime, noir drama that looks like it’s straight from Saturday morning cartoons. The story follows detective Frankie Mack who comes from the crime realm of Fablewood. His short story will get no sequel so he decided to cross genres and is now a detective in the nursery rhyme realm. When Humpty Dumpty is pushed off a wall, he gets embroiled in a mystery involving some of our favorite characters from fiction. This was a very enjoyable read and it was fun to see these characters, who you think you know, take on completely different roles. Definitely check this series out, especially if you liked Fairy Quest and Fables. – Cody

(B) I keep reading these crime books every week and it’s working out quite well. Fiction Squad is two parts Shrek and one part every 40’s style crime noir novella. In fact that is where Frankie Mack, our main character, comes from. Fiction Squad takes place in the world that all storybook characters live. Frankie Mack is a detective that investigates crimes that happen in the City of Rime. Rime is where children’s fairytale and nursery rhyme characters live. The story starts with Mack investigating who has pushed Humpty Dumpty off of a wall, in an apparent attempted homicide. (ovacide?) There seems to be an old mob style feud between The Madonnas, fairytale queens, and The Witches. Everyone has henchmen and Rime is as dirty as Gotham. Fiction Squad is a fun read that is not really deep. We all already know the characters, aside from Frankie, so you can instantly make a connection to the world. My only one real gripe comes with the art choices. While the art by Ramon Bachs is bright and detailed, the story is set in a world of children’s fictional characters, so why do we aggressively busty female characters? Other than that, I enjoyed Fiction Squad, and I’m ready to continue the story. – Scott

Dark Horse Comics:

Dream Thief Escape #4 – C

Well, that ending was disappointing. Dream Thief Escape wrapped up with issue #4, and John was finally able to help his dad avenge his death. But the humor that was so prominent in the previous issues was lacking here. If the entire thing had been sentimental because John’s dad was going to die once his death was avenged, I would have been ok with the sappy. There was only a glimpse of that, and while it was good, it wasn’t enough. I am looking forward to see what happens from here; even though it was the final issue, there was a tease for a future. I think there is always a future in avenging murder. I just hope that there can be some humor in it whenever they bring it back. – Adrian

DC/Vertigo:

Gotham Academy #1 – A-

I am truly impressed with Gotham Academy. It had everything in a book that I enjoy: a strong female character, a little bit of drama, a little bit of mystery, good art, and a bonus of a Batman appearance. Gotham Academy follows a teenage girl named Olive Silverlock (who is kind of destined to live in Gotham with a name like that), who is a little dark and a little bit of a loner. She is in charge of new student Maps, who is adventurous, but also happens to be Olive’s ex-boyfriend’s little sister. See? Rife with teenage drama. I really liked the art in the book; Gotham Academy almost felt like Hogwarts, which I’m a sucker for. Whatever is hiding in the school, and in Olive’s past with Bruce Wayne is enough to keep me intrigued, but I’m also excited for the strong female led cast of characters. – Adrian

Green Arrow #35 – C+

Sigh. The Jeff Lemire/Andrea Sorrentino saga has come to a close. After a dozen or so issues surrounding the island, the totems and a whole bunch of secrets that revived the series, we get a new creative team. The newest issue of Green Arrow is an ideal place to start off, and right in time for the television show to debut Season 3 next Wednesday. There’s not much happening in this issue as far as action or advancing the story, but look out for some great dialogue between Oliver and Diggle. The big news here is the introduction of Felicity Smoak to the comic books. And she doesn’t appear to be a good guy at the moment. There is also a very awkward scene with Lex Luthor and Bruce Wayne that is very uncharacteristic of Bruce Wayne that left me feeling uncomfortable with how his character was portrayed. The issue shows that the new writer/artist combo has the potential to be successful with the Green Arrow, but a few missteps with Oliver Queen, the man, left me a little discouraged. – Sherif

Tiny Titans: Return to the Treehouse #5 – C+

Usually, I think Tiny Titans is incredibly cute. When I read it, I am known to squee. You can ask; it’s true. This issue was pretty strange though. Cheetah paints Wonder Woman’s invisible jet with camouflage paint. Even as a kid, I would have seen the humor in it, but after several panels of the Tiny Titans and Wonder Woman looking for her jet, the joke was over. However, it was the epilogue that pulled this story up, chalking Earth Two up to being coconut heroes. It was a good laugh for this Tiny Titan fan. – Adrian

Lobo #1 – B-

(B) This was a new one for me!  Until this premiere issue I had no idea who Lobo was.  I had no idea what his claim to fame is or what his background entailed.  I was very pleased to learn that the ruthless, alien, cut-throat mercenary was right in line with what I like most about a tough-guy character.  Lobo carries a deep and heavy past and takes to murdering for profit as a coping mechanism.  This intro issue grabbed me right away and held me throughout.  The greater story is set up as a classic space-western adventure of sorts and I’m anxiously anticipating Lobo’s continued hunt and how it will weave into his tormented past.  The more limb and body severing, the better. – Taylor

(B) Psychopathic alien bounty hunter/assassin Lobo starts out this new volume in an argument with the recently decapitated head of the apparent Lobo impersonator we’ve been reading about all these years. The current incarnation of Lobo is more toned down from the large hairy biker character of the past. He’s slimmer and clean shaven, but the good news is he still kills a lot of guys, just no dogs. The art is high DC quality, but the coloring really brings it to life for me. It’s bright and exciting and visceral when needed. This is the first issue, so the story line is just getting started. By the end of the issue, it’s clear that there is a lot on the line and Lobo has to deal with eight infamous assassins to get the job done. Although, if they all go down as quickly as the first guy, there won’t be much to talk about. – Scott

(D+) I’ve been silently dreading this moment for a while now. As The New52 has dictated, DC Comics revealed to us that the Lobo we knew and loved (and oh, he was loved) is an impostor, a scrub, a fake. Instead of the hulking, cigar-smoking, uber-manly biker, we were expected to believe that this professional, thin, metro-sexual son of a Bastich was the real deal. After disposing of the inter-galactic merc I’ve known for years, we’re given a long, drawn-out sob story from the new Lobo. This works completely against the entire point of Lobo. A guy who slices heads open (the only redeemed factor of this book) doesn’t need a pity party, but just a lot of ass kicking and some hilarity.Instead, we’re given an over-abundance of one-liners a third-grader could out-do. I do not like the character’s redesign, but it’s really the content of the book that has immediately turned me off. What makes it even worse is that Cullen Bunn wrote it. Bunn has had great success recently with writing the hardened anti-hero with books like Sinestro and Magneto, but, the whole industry may have to lobotomize this series to keep the nightmares at bay. – Sherif

Dynamite:

Sherlock Holmes vs. Harry Houdini #1 – B

I like it. Not much more to say really then that. If you like Holmes and Houdini and their respective tales then you’re going to like this line up. I’m really glad that Houdini is being written about again. He was a very fascinating man in history surrounded by a lot of intrigue and mystery. This pairing seems like a natural course of action. I also like that the book is going back to the root of what Sherlock was. Sherlock has been missing the element of the occult/spiritualist with the modern retelling of the narrative. Add a dash of logic and deduction it’s setting itself up to be a great story. – Jené

IDW Comics:

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #38 – A-

(A) It is hard for me to ever give TMNT a bad grade but this issue was really well done with new and old characters and an interesting family issue between the Turtles. All of this leads to another meeting with Old Hob. Will he be able to help the Turtles or will he play a part in their downfall? Hopefully the former rather than the latter. I think the way this story is going is top notch. Definitely pick this issue up; it is a great starting point for TMNT. – Jacob

(B+) The TMNT, which was my top book of 2013, has been taking a deliberately slow approach since the City Fall arc drew to a close. The Northampton story brought us back down to Earth after an adrenaline-fueled takeover of New York by Shredder, and the turtles have returned to New York to prepare to face both Krang and The Shredder – who are at war with each other. It’s all a little too formulaic for me. However, there’s an aspect to the story that has my eyes bulging. Enter, the Might Mutanimals – or at least that’s what I remember them as. This team of mutagenized animals were a short-lived comic book, made several appearances in the TV series, but most memorably, had their own sweet action figures. Joining us this issue are an old favorite of mine, who is sure to get along swimmingly with Michaelangelo, and a new, hysterically-interesting character. These new “recruits” for Hobbs army have me absolutely gleeful about what is to come. The issue is not without its faults though, as a riveting speech by Donatello is undercut by Mikey’s own awkward rant, and April’s lecture to Casey falls flat of making an impression, but in a franchise that has only seen Shredder and Krang as the supporting characters, it’s nice to know that writer Tom Waltz isn’t afraid to blow the doors wide open on this one. – Sherif

Usagi Yojimbo Senso #3 – B

You can never go wrong with a Stan Sakai written and drawn work. He has been busy at work on Usagi Yojimbo and his latest story Senso is continued here in issue #3.  Usagi and everyone of his time and planet face an alien force invading their planet during an important battle between forces. This issue gives us some major action, some brutal anthropormorphic animal deaths, and the writing and art is at the top of its game like you can always expect from Stan Sakai and Usagi Yojimbo. – Jacob

X-Files: Year Zero #3 – C-

I have really been enjoying IDW’s main X-Files series from day one but with their spin-off mini series, its like a bunch of great ideas executed badly. I think ultimately this story will end up being better than the Conspiracies story line they had with The Lone Gunmen meeting other IDW characters, but still lacks in content compared to the main series. I wish mini series got the same attention as the main ongoing series. – Jacob

Image Comics:

Nailbiter #6 – B

(B+) Often times, I am unhappy when comics take a “breather” from their normal story lines. But with this month’s Nailbiter, I was pleasantly surprised. Rather than focus on Nailbiter himself, we got a closer look at the strange teenager Alice and the Sheriff, Crane. We also were introduced to perhaps the most terrifying character yet, a pregnant woman hell-bent on having her kid in Buckaroo, hoping she will be famous once he becomes a serial killer. I suppose The Kardashians claim to fame looks sweet compared to that. This was a good issue to jump into because there is enough background given to catch up. Yet, there was still the question of Alice’s sanity and her relationship to the Sheriff. I have a feeling that Alice’s origin is a little … complicated. – Adrian

(B-) I’m still loving Nailbiter. Joshua Williamson took the character development route in this issue, as the last couple of issues have been pretty intense. While it’s not as intense as the last couple of issues, it still has the gut-tug, edge of your seat reading feel. Character development and relationships are always my favorite part of a story. It’s especially necessary for this kind of narrative. Getting inside the character’s worlds is really important. More and more I am drawn in by Alice’s character and I want to know what she’s going through. I also want to know who she reminds Crane of. What sorts of parallels is she seeing in this young woman? I think this story is doing a good job of unraveling the character backgrounds and inner lives. We just get enough information to speculate, but then it’s left alone until other issues. I also notice the environment that is built up through the art. Certain panels pause on small parts of the body, little visual moments that are simple but seem to add a lot of significance. The scale is also on point and I’m pulled into the depths of it. If you haven’t started it, you all need to catch up. – Jené

Cutter #1 – C

(C+) Cutter is a month long story arc starting this week. It’s a classic slasher story that, so far, hasn’t really done anything new or that exciting. It’s only going to be four issues long, so it moves very quickly; several minor characters die in the first issue. Cutter goes along the old slasher stand-by of “something bad happened now someone who was supposed to be dead, or a potential friend or relative of said supposed dead person is out for revenge.” Oh, though in this case it could be ghost or a Crow-esque person. It’s hard to tell at this point. The art is nice, it’s a very sketchy style. At some points it looks like pen and marker, with some half toning for shading. It works well with the story and keeps pace with the frantic mindset of the main character, Jeremy. The character dialogue is a little hokey and doesn’t always sound like something a regular person might say. Cutter is a decent book, just not a very striking one. If you like slasher movies you’d probably want to grab this, but unless you’re a diehard fan for the genre, you can probably skip it. – Scott

(C) First things first, kudos to a horror book put out just in time for Halloween. The timing is great, and I think it automatically adds intrigue to a book that I otherwise might have skipped right past. However, as I read through the first issue, my intrigue quickly transformed into a notion of “been there, done that.” What could have been something new and unique seems to be just another revenge story, and its one we’ve all heard before. A group of teenagers make a mistake in the heat of youth and partying, someone gets hurt/dies, they all carry the secret to their graves, but “shocker”, the victim never died and one by one they will exact their revenge on those who wronged them. Cutter, so far, offers no evidence that it didn’t just reveal its entire story arc right there. It’s predictable, which is all too common in the horror genre these days. I worry that it will rely on carnage and violence to set it apart as opposed to originality and a strong storyline. The dialogue is well written and has a natural flow, and the art work understated and very well done. I do not want to be the person who immediately rules something out because I predict I know exactly where the story will end because, well I guess I’m always hoping for that twist that will make my jaw drop and shut me up. For this reason, I will continue with Cutter to see what it has to offer, but over all issue #1 did not do a great job of selling a horror fan on my favorite genre. – Keriann

Marvel:

Edge of Spider-Verse #4 – B

(A) I debated for a long time on whether or not to give this week’s issue of Edge of the Spider-Verse an “A” grade or not.  As you can see, I opted for the A.  And here’s why.  (1) When conceiving of what a Spider-Man from an alternate universe might be like – this version is nowhere close to where my imagination would take me.  (2) Every Spider-Man story I’ve experienced, whether it be in comics, movies, video games or otherwise, has retained the same theme.   Meaning, every Spidey story is (to some extent) playful, lighthearted and charming.  THIS WAS NONE OF THAT.  And finally (3) we, as an audience, were given segue to the greater story to come in Spider-Verse at the expense of a Spidey version we never EVER want to see again.  In slightly fewer words, this issue of Edge was Creepy. As. Hell.  Seriously.  I think I’ll have nightmares for the week.  I found this issue so endearing because it lacked anything, well… endearing.  This was by far the darkest and most tormented Spider-Man story I’ve ever experienced.  The shock value alone was enough to make me appreciate it.  I squirmed and cringed as panels progressed, but I couldn’t put it down!!  Final reflection ultimately led me to feel that this was a solid issue.  I recommend you pick up this issue of Edge even if you haven’t been following up to this point.  It’ll show you what a Spider-Man of you nightmares is made of. – Taylor

(D) Remember two issues ago when I said that I could read a new Spider-verse every week? Yeah, well that did not apply to the disturbingly sociopathic Spider-Man that turns into an evil spider that burrows and breeds within its victims. Sorry for the confusion, Marvel, but I think the world could have done without this one. Reading this issue gave me a genuine sense of horror, and I’m not sure if that’s a good or a bad thing, but it’s definitely not what I look for when I read a Spider-Man title. In this issue, we follow Patton Parnel, who enjoys killing animals and refers to people as “tests subjects,” which should be a clear sign that you should not be on his side. Sure, he gets bullied and his uncle beats him, but does that really excuse the exceedingly creepy tone that the book takes on? Maybe this just isn’t the book for me, but I’m just as disappointed in the writing as I am in the fact that this is supposed to be a Spider-Man title. – Sherif

Legendary Star-Lord #4- B

Star-Lord has moved on from his previous venture and is now on the hunt for Thanos. This truce is up and Star-Lord needs to take care of business. This issue was definitely better than last month’s. There are some really awesome panels when Thanos and Star-Lord meet and inevitably fight. I’m not exactly sure where they will be going after this issue; there is the possibility that it could get kind of cheesy for some time, and I hope that doesn’t happen. This is actually a great issue to get started on, but, I would definitely suggest starting at the start because it has been a very good series so far. – Cody

Black Widow #11 – B-

While I have been on and off Black Widow all year, I feel like it is an easy book to jump back into. The plot is never complicated enough that I don’t know what is going on. The story has still never fully delved into Natasha Romanov’s background; her past is just as mysterious as it was in Issue #1. Which is why it is hard to justify giving the book a stellar review. Was it good? Sure! X-23 was in it and she is arguably more bad-ass than Natasha herself. But I feel that there is so much to tell about the infamous former KGB operative, yet nothing has actually been told. I hope that in the near future, the writing changes Black Widow from being a static hero with a mysterious past to a dynamic heroine whose story is known. – Adrian

Death of Wolverine #3 – B-

This month’s issue of Death of Wolverine was definitely an improvement on the last issue but still lacks in story for what any long time Wolverine fan would hope to see. I have enjoyed this story arc for what it is and seeing Wolverine humanized really does make you realize how boring a weak Wolverine can be, but also how much of a better person he has become because of it. My grade may have to do with Kitty Pryde being incredibly bad-ass in this issue and that is always good to see. The art is fantastic and the “weapon” etched hologram foil covers are way worth the $5 price tag these issues ask for. – Jacob

Bucky Barnes: The Winter Soldier #1 – C+

This was good but a little out there. Bucky Barnes now works for S.H.I.E.L.D. as their cosmic watchman, keeping an eye out and performing secret missions at the behest of Nick Fury. Daisy Johnson, a.k.a. Quake, is Bucky’s new partner, but not his sidekick. This issue was a little confusing at times, but I enjoyed it. The art in this is absolutely the high point, it’s absolutely gorgeous and you’ll get lost in the images. I’m not a hundred percent sure, but it looks like it’s all done with watercolor. It’s one of the best illustrated books I’ve seen in a while. – Cody

Guardians of the Galaxy 3000 #1 – C-

The original Guardians are back in a new, modern story and it was confusing as all get out. They use language that doesn’t make any sense at times and that got a little strange, granted, it was all expletives and exclamatory remarks, but, it forced me to stop and re-read things which took me out of the story. Things happen that are so confusing, and while they do eventually get explained, it still left me scratching my head for the majority of the read. If you’re a fan of the original Guardians, then you may find some enjoyment out of this title, but if you’re looking for something similar to the new Guardians then you’re out of luck, this team reminds me more of the X-Men than the Guardians. – Cody

Moon Knight #8 – C-

Since Warren Ellis left after issue #6, Moon Knight has lacked the certain “umph” that had me glued to each page. This issue is undoubtedly unique and interesting, with each panel playing out like a scene in a crime drama. Mr. Knight is attempting to thwart a man holding hostages, bomb strapped to his chest. The art by Greg Smallwood, who has taken over quite nicely for Declan Shalvey, is good enough, but the oddly placed panels just don’t make sense at times. Nowhere in the book do I feel attached to the situation, or Moon Knight himself. It’s as if somebody entirely different is beneath the mask. That’s not to say that Moon Knight doesn’t handle business; he is quite brutal to the perp when he goes down. The personality that Ellis brought to the first arc has been constricted, though, leaving something that looks like Moon Knight, but doesn’t quite feel like Moon Knight. – Sherif

Thor #1 – C+

(B-) Well, lady Thor is finally here! Dude Thor has somehow lost the ability to pick up his hammer, Mjolnir, and so has everyone else, but, you probably already knew that, and now someone must take his place. This issue was definitely a set-up issue. We’re getting an idea of what the new Thor will be up against soon. And, I’ll tell ya, it’s some pretty heavy stuff (literally). As always, I love the way the Asgardians speak and the font of their speech. This was a rather average story, but it’s definitely worth your time to see where they are going to take this new character. – Cody

(C+) So, cool… I guess. New Thor still hasn’t actually arrived yet. Just one panel. Not gonna lie, I’m annoyed she hasn’t been introduced. I get that we had to get rid of the old Thor, but there has been all this build up to the start of this new series and I was expecting a grand dramatic entrance. I was also expecting the change in command to be told from the lens of the new Thor. I would have been more impressed with it I think. I do hope in the next issue we get her story. The story writing is solid and engaging and the art is fantastic, so major plus on that end. In general my enthusiasm and excitement hasn’t been fully damaged. I’m still super stoked for this story line. The writer has been gearing up for this for a while now and I have faith that it’ll be what the fans have been craving. I also hope she’ll be around for a while. It’s a major change up and I plan to support it as long as the writing is good. – Jené

(C) I was looking forward to this new series because it is a monumental event. However, I found this issue to be rather boring and uneventful. We got as much information about why Thor lost Mljolnir as we did when we saw him on the moon in Original Sin #8 and we got hints at who the female Thor probably is, but it was never confirmed it is who they were hinting at. This issue felt more like a Thor #0. Next month’s issues will really feel like the kick off to the series. – Jacob

(C) Everyone is so balls-to-the wall about Thor as of late.  In observing this grand act of testicular theatrics it’s hard not get excited and join in.  So though I kept my pants on, I did make special note of when this new series would be available.  The fateful day has arrived and I must say… I was fairly disappointed.  This is driven primarily by the fact that Thor (new, female Thor that is) wasn’t actually in the issue (at least not in an impactful sense).  The buildup seems decent enough and the peripheral characters were cool, I guess.  But the big reveal was little more than just badass artwork sprawled across the final pages.  I’m a man of substance and I need my characters to have substance from the very beginning all the way to the very end.  Based on a cover to cover experience this new series isn’t anything to get crazy about.  Yet.  So… for the time being, I’ll keep my pants on and wait to see if next the issue has what it takes to loosen me up. – Taylor

Funniest Panel:

Green Arrow #35
Green Arrow #35

Panel with the Most Awesomeness:

Thor #1
Thor #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 09-24-14

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:

Saga #23
Saga #23 – A
(A) There’s something to be said about a book that, every month without fail, can take you to a happy place that would make Billy Madison jealous. Each episode of Saga is a beautifully crafted piece of fantasy that satisfies both my need for gratuitous language and violence, as well my deep desire for an inter-galactic love story full of adventure, betrayal and TVs having sex with each other. This issue specifically, is when everything changes. After Marko “f***ing assaults” Alana with vegetables in the previous issue, things spiral out of control for the couple, and somehow manage to get much, much worse. Please pick up this series and enjoy the crap out of it; you’ll thank me later. – Sherif
(A) Someone admitted to me this week that when a new issue of Saga is released they retreat to their bedroom (comic in hand), turn on a bit of mood lighting, strip down to their socks and underwear and proceed to bask in the gloriousness of what will be the best comic they will read all week long.  He called it “me time.”  I would have laughed at him, but truth be told… that’s how I read Saga too.  Don’t judge.  Vaughan and Staples are the best duo in the medium right now.  Everything about Saga is masterfully worked and presented.  As a reader I’m so invested in the characters (all of them), the plot, the setting (this is sci-fi done RIGHT), everything!  This series is oozing with unique creativity and use of the panel.  There’s very little not to love about Saga.  The only bad part is how weird and creepy I feel sitting there in my underwear once I’m done reading the issue. – Taylor

Other Reviews: 

Boom! Studios:

Lumberjanes #6 – B-

Oh my god the raccoon hat. It gets me every time. I want it drawn on a coffee mug and it to be in my possession. The Luberjanes just defeated raptors and are now playing capture the flag. But, what about the raptors and the three eyes foxes and the strange cave aren’t you going to ever tell me what the junk is going on?!?!?! And what’s up with Jo and her seeming mythicalness starting to come out.  Also, when can I get my own game of capture the flag started? Thankfully, more of the mythical plot was revealed this week and I am sated. – Jené

Dark Horse:

Aliens: Fire and Stone #1 – B

Dark Horse has really stepped up their game lately.  On the heels of Prometheus: Fire and Stone #1 comes Aliens: Fire and Stone.  These two series are woven directly into one another and so far it’s worked amazingly!  In fact, this premiere issue for Aliens: Fire and Stone is by itself nothing special.  But with the Prometheus: Fire and Stone story still fresh in my mind it enhanced my experience.  Prometheus’ vibe was very much like the beginning of any Alien movie – eerie, calm, and mysterious.  This Aliens series in contrast has started out like the end of any Alien movie – terrifying, frantic and intense.  The yin and yang balance of the Fire and Stone adventure is working very well so far and I can’t wait to see how these stories collide. – Taylor

Sundowners #2 – D

I learn something new every week in the midst of my comic book reading campaign.  This week’s lesson: intentionally confusing plot lines are only effective in issue #1.  I was hooked on Sundowners after reading the opening issue some weeks ago.  I wasn’t all that sure what was happening.  But with stored questions and curious ponderings I was very anxious to see what the follow up issue would deliver.  I’m saddened to say that this series appears to have taken a turn for the worst.  My initial questions were poorly addressed (if not skipped entirely) and the plot was further muddied.  A new character entered this week and all it did was distract me.  I wanted to learn more about the original cast; there is still so much to explore!  It was obvious to me that the characters were going to drive this story.  From what I got this week, I’m not so sure that’s where Sundowners is headed. – Taylor

DC/Vertigo:

Futures End: Superman #1 – A-
Finally, a Futures End worth reading! The one-shots from DC’s latest cash-grab mega-arc crossover thingy has been largely disappointing, with poor writing and even worse art. This little gem written by Dan Jurgens, though, blew away any expectations I had up to this point. The Haz-Mat Superman has been revealed, and the story behind his appearance, albeit unresolved, is a really cool idea. Like Batman, the world needs a Superman. Even if not Kal El, somebody with enough gusto to fill his shoes. But where in the world is Clark Kent? This same Superman has been all over the Futures End books, so look to see more of him soon enough. – Sherif
Batman Eternal #25 – B
Hush has finally declared open season on Batman, which means that this story looks like it’s finally heating up. There has been just too much going on in this book, but it looks like Eternalwill very much be a Batman vs. Hush story, and with writing input by Scott Snyder, I am thoroughly excited to see where this goes. The book is not without its transgressions, though, as the odd, uncharacteristic art detracts from the story going on around us. There are more findings that raise cause for question; for instance, is Alfred going to recover? How deep does the corruption go? Is Jim Gordon going to make it out unscathed? The fact that I care about any of this again means that Eternal has managed to recover (at least partially) of its earlier faults and found a little quality in spite of the quantity of books coming out. – Sherif
Future’s End: Aquaman and the Others #1 – B
This issue picks up where Future’s End: Aquaman left off. Vulko has brought back Atlan, the Dead King who sunk Atlantis, now he wants to sink Aquaman’s attempt at making peace with the surface, but first, he needs the Atlantean artifacts that he forged long ago. I enjoy Aquaman so these Future’s Ends with him have been enjoyable for me. Jurgens is a good story teller but his writing can be weak at points. If you’re a fan of Aquaman definitely give this a shot, but you may want to read the Aquaman Future’s End first. – Cody
Future’s End: Justice League Dark #1 – C-
This one started out alright, but really lost steam in the last few pages. It had some cool cosmic aspects to it, but once an outsider showed up it was rushed and just uninteresting. You’d think that with such a massive event that DC would have put more thought into these stories. Read it if you like JLD I guess, but, it’s really not anything special. – Cody
Future’s End: Harley Quinn #1 – D+
 
I can’t emphasize how dumb Harley Quinn is for always falling for The Joker.  But ultimately, I can’t blame her, I have to blame her writers.  They are treating her like she is Coney Island’s Carrie Bradshaw and Joker is Mr. BIg.  Harley’s 5 year fast forward puts her stranded on a beach of an island that looks like it is a characterization of South America.  She must meet the island’s god Tha’ Jo-kaa (wow, really?) and then they must get married.  The whole thing became Joker’s story and made Harley look like an idiot.  I am so tired of the Harley is dumb and loves Joker trope.  It’s about time they gave her something for readers to work with. – Adrian

IDW Comics:

Super Secret Crisis War #4- A

This issue really shows us what our childhood heroes are made of! On top of that there is a twist at the end that any one who knows my strong feelings about The Powerpuff Girls and Ed, Edd and Eddy will understand why I enjoyed it so much. With this series (and it may just be the child that won’t go away in me) every issue is wonderful, but I get upset every time I finish one because I know the event is closer to being over. This issue is an important one in the series because it shows our heroes finally figuring out each other and making a good team. On top of that, the villains are just down right horrible, and they make a “Death Stare” to destroy planets. It is a great story and besides the video game Cartoon Network Punch Time Explosion XL (which has a name equally as long and crazy as this series)  there has never been a better multi-cartoon crossover ever. – Jacob

Samurai Jack #12- B+

Jack has lost the power of his sword and now Aku has nothing to fear! We saw Jack’s sword destroyed in the last issue and now he has to deal with the fact Aku knows and will spare no cost at taking him out. I think this will definitely be the best arc this series has gotten yet. It offers so much more than the past stories have and so much more is at stake. This is part two of this story but it does give a good recap to help you understand what is happening. This issue could even be a good point to jump onto the story before it gets too involved. It is pretty hard to make Samurai Jack look bad, so the art of this series is always great, although I would like to see a more realistic or at least more detailed Samurai Jack issues at some point in the future. – Jacob

Star Trek #37- C+

This Issue of Star Trek definitely delivers the goods and so many great Trek characters from each series. We mainly see the cast of the new film series based off of the original series.  We also see a lot of Deep Space Nine with appearances by  Sisko, Odo, Quark, Dr. Bashir, Kira, and Worf. But what will keep any Star Trek fan interested is what Q has planned for their universe. – Jacob

G.I. Joe #1 – D-
Before I totally destroy this book, I want to preface it with the fact that I have never read a G.I. Joe anything, so maybe the books have just been this awful for the last 30 years and crappy writing is the status quo. If that slight was any indication, I hated this first issue. It had all the entertainment value of watching a fry-cook try to save the lastBennigan’s in town from closing. The only sliver of hope I have for this series is that there will eventually be explosions and stuff, but I can get that anywhere, really. G.I. Joe has failed to produce anything resembling substance, and instead gave us the inside scoop of what it’s like to sit through a military board meeting where absolutely nobody is having a good time – especially you.

Image Comics:

Roche Limit #1- B

(A) Roche Limit takes us to the farthest reaches of space, to a small colony built on the edge of an energy anomaly. Sadly, like many designed utopian societies in science fiction, this one has come to the wealth, the greedy, and the dangerous. The main story follows a woman looking for her sister who has disappeared and she falls into a sleazy societal underbelly in her search. Roche Limit is written by Michael Moreci with art from the fantastic Vic Malhorta. The first issue gives you just enough taste to keep you interested. This is a strong sci-fi noir with excellent visuals and a mysterious plot. Roche Limit is gritty, violent, and visceral. In a good way.  – Scott

(B) Yay, outer space!!  Double yay for a comic book story introducing a cool new fictional celestial body and crazy space drugs made from never before seen space minerals.  If that’s not enough to grab your attention then maybe the plot will snag you.  On the surface this is a story about a woman who has left earth, traveled across the galaxy to the human established colony, Roche Limit, to find her missing sister.  While the concept is basic, the setting will certainly compensate and work as an enhancement.  This story will drive the sci-fi theme and that’s a good thing.  Invest in the characters and their objectives and marvel in the awesome concepts accompanied with a new unexplored galactic frontier.  I have moon-sized expectations for this new Image series. – Taylor

(B+) Roche Limit is a colony on a planet located near a weak black hole. The dream of a billionaire who wanted a fresh start on society, but like always, it has failed, and Roche Limit is now a place of crime a depravity. When a girl goes missing, her sister travels to the colony and gets embroiled in it’s underworld. I’ve been reading a lot of these sci-fi/noir books lately and this was one of the more enjoyable ones I’ve read. It has an intelligent and mysterious anti-hero in Alex and the sister, who happens to be a cop on Earth, is also smart and rather fearless. The villain is mysterious and definitely is up to something strange. If you enjoyed Blade Runner, you’ll like this. – Cody

(C) I wanted to read this book because of the fancy science term title. I need more space travel stories in my life. But this isn’t really it. Instead, it’s a colony on the border of an anomaly and no space exploration to think of. Instead, the colony is more a city like Gotham where crime, drugs, scientific experiments run rampant.  So far I’m mixed. If the title has andy foreshadowing, the colony is eventually going to be swallowed up by the Roche Limit, the inevitable decay and destruction of a society and constructed colony. Maybe this book will be different and go another route. I’m still willing to give this book a shot. One thing that bothers me is that this kind of technological advancement is just too close to our current timeline. I really think writers should extend this kind of space exploration further into the future. Yes, we have made a lot of fast advancement, but we are still fairly far away from a lot of other stuff.  I like the environment the writer and artists are developing. I like the swirl of colors and the use of negative space within the book. It separates itself from the more visually cluttered books. – Jené

A Voice in the Dark #1- C

(B+) Most of the time I don’t know how to talk about art. This book’s art looks like watercolors, which I hear are really hard to work with. The way the colors blend in to one another, it has this odd mixture of grunge meets whimsical. Serial killer stories and crime procedurals are my guilty pleasures. I love how they have inverted the Dexter serial killer trope. The diary format in which the story unfolds is something I haven’t seen in a while. Right not I can’t recall a comic that’s done it that way. The only thing I have beef with is Rio’s genius as a killer. Seems a little tame to me. – Jené

(D-) I had not heard of the A Voice In The Dark series until it’s latest incarnation A Voice In The Dark: Get Your Gun, and now I know why. It’s pretty bland all the way through. The easiest way to describe this series is that it’s a bad version of the movie Mr. Brooks. If you don’t understand the reference, that’s ok, no one saw Mr. Brooks. Basically what’s going on here is the main character, Zoey, has compulsions to kill people. SPOILERS She fails to control these compulsions. The story is underdeveloped and the plot just isn’t all there for me. But seeing how Get Your Gun appears to be a small story arch in a slightly larger plot I’ll try not to judge the entire series on this arch. What I will judge the entire series on is its art. The characters are emotionless and shallow. At one point, one of the characters actually pointed out a hair lip he has to Zoey, and also to me, for the first time. This particular facial feature is even a major proponent to this characters actions and personality. But if the reader doesn’t even see it who cares?! With bland writing and dull art I can say that you can skip this one. – Scott

Wayward #2 – C
(B) Wayward #1 came across as an American version of Japanese anime about a girl with super parkour powers!  It was a bit whimsical and overall light hearted.  In a good and measured step Wayward #2 diminished those impressions and did a slight amount of maturing; which I felt was a good thing… mostly.  Adding to the first issue’s impression, it made me believe that this story will be more than your typical anime tale.  We were also introduced to a new character this week and I’m already a fan.  He too has weird and interesting powers.  Combo these powers with super parkour powers and we could all be in for a real treat.  And lastly, I’ve got to give it up to Steve Cummings for his artwork.  I’m in love with nuanced manga style pencil work.  Something about it keeps me staring at the page much longer than average.  I am a little bit sad though, that I didn’t get to see any more off-brand Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or magical cat ladies.  Maybe next issue. – Taylor
(D+) Like Buffy, my ass. Only two issues in and this book has already made my eyes roll, lips curl and eyebrows raise more than I would like them to. Rori, the half-Irish, half-Japanese girl who came to live with her mother, she discovers she has powers, which I can only deduce is some form of Spirit World parkour. The story has left me unimpressed, and the character even more unlikable after she takes a knife to herself to “make [her] mark and get through another day.” Some might find this relate-able but with absolutely no connection to the character or why she feels this is appropriate, it feels forced and insincere. All the promise of being anything mentioned in the same breath of BTVS is gone, and we’re in quite the uphill battle for this book to turn around in issue #3 that makes me want to read anything more. – Sherif

Marvel:

Deadpool #35- A-

After last week’s 90’s flashback, we jump back into the story with this issue. We have plenty of references to past stories including a very good bit about Deadpool’s friends from the Weapon X program in North Korea. I felt this issue was a great issue for Deadpool and actually a great jump on point in the series.  With this issue, we get Deadpool’s humor, drama, and a perfect mix of Deadpool being a merciless killer in epic battle. Overall this issue shows complete Deadpool picture. Definitely check this out if you are a fan or if you want to be introduced to the Merc with a Mouth. – Jacob

All-New Ghost Rider #7- B

This new Ghost Rider story has been rather crazy from the get-go but with the series ending soon (only 5 issues to go!) I am liking where it is going yat a little bit afraid. Don’t get me wrong, this is a great issue and it really shows the struggle between Robbie and his inner demon Eli, who makes him become Ghost Rider. With the new story arc starting last issue, we got a new art style for the series which I can’t say is really better than the previous five issues.  I have enjoyed it more as it is not as anime/cartoon looking. I would say try and pick up last months issue and make sure to read this because the Ghost Rider series is about to change drastically. – Jacob

Amazing Spider-Man #1.5 (Learning to Crawl) – B
Since the re-emergence of Peter Parker as Spidey just a few months ago, there’s been a lot of catch-up being played, causing things to get blurred and busy. Thankfully, the Learning to Crawl story was there to bring us back to why we give a damn about Peter Parker to begin with. The tale of Peter’s ascension to manhood was told as a modern-day origin story, and captured everything great we felt about our Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man. Sure, it came off as corny and a bit preachy, but that’s where its charm lay. Thanks to a vintage style art by Ramon Perez, the tone of Dan Slott’s story felt appropriate. You’re not missing anything if you skip this, but if you take the time to read this tweener, you’ll be happy you did. – Sherif

Storm #3 – B

Things for Storm came full circle this month; she went back home to Kenya and Forge just happened to be there.  While the story was pleasant, it was also simple.  Storm’s hometown, the one where she was a goddess, is experiencing drought.  She goes to save the day and meets up with Forge.  They argue like exes do, then they save the day…sort of.  I have always like Storm a lot; I find her one of the most intriguing X-Men, so I really like hearing about her origins.  I thought this book was a cool way to touch on it, but for people who are new to her story, could be confusing.  The most enjoyable piece of this issue was the art.  I was blown away at the use of color and how fantastic they made her power of controlling the weather seem. Simply beautiful – Adrian
Guardians of the Galaxy #19 – B
(A) We continue the story of how Star-Lord, Nova, Drax, and Thanos escaped from the Cancerverse, a horrible version of our universe that holds some rather strange surprises. I have very much enjoyed this little side story and love seeing these four interact with each other. Richard Rider is a WAY better Nova than this stupid kid they have now, and it is a lot of fun to watch him interact with Quill. Drax has a couple great moments and even Thanos gets some pretty fantastic panels. Can’t wait to see where Bendis takes us next. -Cody
(C+) The Original Sin spin-off for GOTG has been fun. And that’s about all it needs to be. The Guardians are relatively unknown throughout the Marvel U, and with the exposure of the movie, have been afforded the opportunity to explore more into their lore. This serial has revolved around Star-Lord explaining to Gamora how he, Nova, Drax and Thanos had found themselves in the Cancerverse. There’s not a whole lot you have to get; yes, everything is as crazy as it sounds. It may be pointless and confusing, but it’s still a thoroughly fun ride, and it makes you peeved that Nova never made it into the movie, because the two have great chemistry. There are definitely better choices you can make with your purchase, but this one is guaranteed good for a few smirks. – Sherif
Magneto #10 – B-
I hope you are in the mood for some vintage red and purple, because this issue is a long trip down memory lane for Magneto – a not so pleasant trip. Red Skull, who has acquired a sliver of Charles Xavier’s powers (Uncanny Avengers storyline that makes no sense but whatever) leaves his Nazi lackey and what seems to be a poorly design Ninja Turtle to torture Magneto. A lot of the issue involves Magneto realizing the failure of his attempts to save… well, anybody. It’s all quite introspective, showing the vulnerability of Magneto while still displaying his strength of resolve. Still, there’s not a whole lot of forward progress, as has been my only gripe on the series thus far. – Sherif
Edge of Spider-Verse #3 – C
(C) The Edge of Spider-Verse has been great so far, but it seems to have fallen flat. Upon first glance, it seemed as though we were getting a Mega-Man version of the web-crawler. To an extent, we were correct. There are a few really interesting panels detailing the gadgetry in his suit, but I wish I was more drawn to the man in the suit. Aaron Aikman is boring, like the Spider-Man version of John Lennon. He even had his own Yoko Ono that managed to screw things up for everybody. The fact that I didn’t enjoy this issue wasn’t for lack of trying; I loved Dustin Weaver’s pencils (who also wrote this issue) and thought the character design and science behind it was really neat, but Aikman himself did not have the personality necessary to wield the title of Spider-Man. – Sherif
(C) Imagine if Iron Man and Spider-Man did a Dragon Ball Z style fusion.  Fuuu-sion-HAA!!  Edge of the Spider-Verse #3 gives us a glimpse of what that might look like.  Truthfully – not as awesome as I thought.  The Spider gear is off the hook and looks pretty sweet.  But anyone in the world can tell you that Spidey’s claim to fame isn’t in the gadgets, gear or suit.  It’s in the man!!  The man in Edge of Spider-Verse #3, Aaron Aikman, falls short.  Nothing was truly bad, but nothing was really great either.  With one exception – Naamurah.  I was quite taken with the bad buy in this issue of Edge.  In appearance, backstory and purpose Naamurah rocks it!  Upon reflection this third issue of Edge is totally a bad guy story.  There’s hints at Naamurah rolling over into the big Spider-Verse event and I’m crossing my fingers that it happens.  I might actually be rooting for this bad-girl as opposed to robo-Spidey. – Taylor

Funniest Panel:

Saga #23
Saga #23

 

Panel with the Most Awesomeness:

Storm #3


 

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 09-10-14

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:

POTW Batgirl FE 9.10

Future’s End: Batgirl #1 – A

I’m going to tell you a secret that makes me look bad: I’ve never read an issue of the New52 Batgirl.  However, I am a fan of Gail Simone’s Twitter.  That counts right?  But after reading this week’s one shot of Future’s End starring Batgirl, I am sold on going back and reading all the Batgirl’s since the relaunch of DC.  This week, we find out that Barbara Gordon’s life will change dramatically in the next 5 years.  She gets married, some terrible events occur which cause her to leave Batgirl behind, and then she seeks out training from infamous Gotham villains, including Bane.  In her absence, three new Batgirls arrive, including Stephanie Brown, Cassandra Kane and Tiffany Fox.  The inclusion of these three is a nice little easter egg for Batman fans.  The women were all strong, even Tiffany Fox, who is supposed to be only 12 years old.  The book is gritty and dark.  Bane is terrifying, as he should be.  Yet, he does have the funniest line in the book, which I believe is genius.  Most importantly, this issue gave readers new insight into Barbara Gordon.  Batgirl is so often seen as cutesy, but it was really brought to light how dark her life has been and will continue to be, no matter what pseudonym she takes on.  I really loved the feel of this issue, which is a testament to both the writing and the art.  If I were to gripe about anything, it would be that this one-shot deserves to be a longer arc; I would be fascinated to read about Barbara’s training in more detail with all the Bat-villains. – Adrian

Other Reviews: 

Boom! Studios:

Wild’s End #1- B

In a nutshell, a British town inhabited by speaking animals is the victim of an alien invasion.  Are you sold yet?  I am. The comic reads like most British novels, and in case you were wondering, there is a map to accompany the story.  It is a little disconcerting that all the characters look like they are straight out of a children’s book, but I also think that it adds to the charm.  The writing is very British, which I am a huge fan of.  If it is hard for you to imagine what is happening as you read, just imagine Simon Pegg reading all the words, but in different pitches.  It may help.  Aside from the alien invasion, the story is about a simple town in England.  There is the new guy, the town drunk, and the scheming politicians.  All of the characters wind up at the same town hall meeting to discuss the fete (festival) to be held, and how everyone will contribute.  It may seem mundane, but that is the brilliance of Wild’s End; the small details of the animals lives is very important to how the rest of the story will play out.  Writer Dan Abnett is no stranger to the world of comic books – he’s been writing them since the mid 1980’s.  I have no doubt that Wild’s End will continue to envelop readers into it’s strange little world, but in a good way. – Adrian

Hexed #2 – C-

The first Hexed was really great.  This issue was lacking in something. Unfortunately, I don’t know if I can put my finger on what exactly it was lacking.  While the heroine, Lucifer, is charming and witty, the rest of the characters lacked any dimension this time around.  The plot of Lucifer dying was different than other stories I have seen because we actually get to see her afterlife, and a lot of other creepies afterlives, too.  However, the plot of Lucifer’s annoying rival being possessed seemed weak this time around.  And the woman who owns all the magical items was not incredibly thought out this issue, either.  I do enjoy the book because of the Buffy-esque-ness of it, but the characters need to be the driving force here, not the forgettable plot. – Adrian

Dark Horse Comics:

Prometheus: Fire and Stone #1 – B

Did you see Prometheus? I did. Were you disappointed? I was. Do you need more Alien in your life? I do. Luckily for us, Dark Horse has us covered. Prometheus: Fire and Stone hit shelves this week. With the bad taste still left in my mouth from Ridley Scott’s latest installment in the Alien universe, my bar was set fairly low for this continuation. To my very pleasant surprise, this issue was one of the best comics I read all week. I was expecting the exceedingly formulaic Alien/Prometheus storyline – that being where a bunch of space travelers make a series of TERRIBLE choices in the presence of new and terrifyingly mysterious discoveries. What we get in Prometheus #1 is that predictable formula plus a very well thought out enhancement of the aspects that made us all love the original Alien movie. Instead of freaking out about just one alien (or type of alien), we get to experience a whole Alien ecosystem! Honestly, I don’t know why this concept hasn’t been explored more in the movies yet. I’d have no qualms about purchasing an overpriced movie ticket to experience an Alien jungle. So if you love Alien and you booed at Prometheus, this comic is definitely worth your time. – Taylor

DC/Vertigo:

Justice League United Futures End #1 – A-

Equinox is off saving a trucker from some weirdo bad guy and his genetically altered polar bears in Canada, when she receives a telepathic message from Martian Manhunter on Mars. Not much is said, but, “They are free!”. Turns out there’s a prison on Mars for all the worst criminals from Earth. Equinox visits the Justice League and they end up taking a trip to Mars to investigate where they encounter the escaped prisoners. We will find out more next week in part two. I actually enjoyed this quite a bit. We get a bit more mystery into exactly what happened five years ago and something bad must have happened to Green Arrow. I like the members of the new Justice League, and the villains are good, although, one may take you by surprise and, in my opinion, he may have had something to do with whatever happened five years ago. Worth your time, especially if you’ve enjoyed other Future’s End stories. – Cody

Superman: Unchained #8 – B+

With a team like Scott Snyder and Jim Lee at the helm, you’d figure this could be the best Superman story ever told. And you’d be right if it weren’t for the atrocious publishing schedule. With three of the most important issues taking a total of six months to release, the story (which already moved along at a relatively slow pace) has lost a lot of its momentum. That aside, Superman’s showdown with Wraith has come to a head very poetically, and it’s nice to see Superman’s tactician side come out here. The story also tries a bit too hard to go deeper than it needs to, and I can’t help but feel that Scott Snyder’s story is over-compensating for the fact that nobody has really been able to capture Superman in a good light since the New52 relaunch began. While the arc as a whole would make a splendid graphic novel, I’m all but sure the final issue will be more eye rolling than eye opening. – Sherif

Future’s End: Birds of Prey #1 – B-

The League of Assassin’s is taken over by Black Canary and becomes The Red League?!  Say what?!  Black Canary five years from now is pretty cool.  She basically channels her inner Daenerys Targaryen and rescues people, specifically girls, from being abused.  Then she takes it a step further and trains those girls to be assassins in The Red League.  That part of the premise is pretty cool, but then Batgirl, ahem, Bête Noire shows up and the whole thing becomes a fight between beefed up Barbara Gordon and slim and trim Dinah Lance, and unless you read Future’s End: Batgirl, it doesn’t really make sense.  As a word of precaution, if you are interested in either of these titles, read the Batgirl issue first, then Birds of Prey.  The issue is a decent one-shot, but won’t be memorable in the long run, unless it is tied in nicely with the weekly Future’s End books.  Even so, this issue makes Black Canary look bad-ass. – Adrian

 

IDW Comics:

Transformers Primacy #2 – C+

Uh oh, Megatron is back. This issue was really just about getting all the bad guys together for some sort of an attack on Cybertron. It was entertaining because you got to see the Predacons trapped on a once lush planet that they had eaten into extinction, the Combaticons a group of elite Decipticon soldiers, and more evil characters from this universe. This one dragged a bit because of all this team building, but it ended with a bang and should prove to get better with time. – Cody

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: New Animated Adventures #15 – C

As big of a TMNT fan as I am I have not been reading this series regularly because even more so than the cartoon it is based off of, this is very much for kids. If you tried to compare this to the main TMNT series, it would be pretty tough since they are such different entities within the same property. This issue is three different short stories of the turtles, two of which they did not even battle a enemy. Although I am sure this issue is a blast for children and fans of the cartoon, for an adult this series may not be the best Turtle comic to pick up. The art is not the best it could be and the stories are very short and don’t offer much as far as good material but again this is for kids. IF you are a huge TMNT fan you will of course enjoy it but anyone else, just stick with reading the main books for now. – Jacob

 

Image Comics:

The Walking Dead #131 – B

I’m still trying to suppress the goosebumps that engulfed my body from last month’s issue. If you’re behind on TWD, hurry and catch up. I haven’t been this hooked since the series started. A very interesting and impactful plot twist came into play last month and it’s started – the anxiety and “holy crap something super crazy is going to happen really soon” cycle TWD fans are far too familiar with. This familiarity is well-welcomed, for the most part. The story could make an unfortunate turn toward “the stupid” quite easily, but that’s yet to be seen. Existing characters are still developing (an impressive feat for 131 issues of content) and new characters are also appearing. With the new found stability of the Alexandria and Hilltop communities I’m almost comfortable getting invested in some of these new faces. I should know better… Kirkman’s still got the creative juice and it shows this issue. Oh. And one more thing. WHERE THE HELL IS MICHONNE?!?!?! – Taylor

’68 Homefront #1- B+

’68 Homefront takes place in the US during the Vietnam War. We’re introduced to a group of teenage cheerleaders and their way to a pep rally. They almost hit a person walking down the side of the road, but, we find out that it was not a person, but, a zombie! In the meantime, at the local funeral parlor, the dead start coming back to life while the people still inside try to barricade the undead downstairs. We’re also shown a tragic bus crash that contained the entire team for the rival school and we hear one of the cops say that not every person is accounted for…that can only lead to trouble. This was a good read. It was like almost any first issue in a zombie series in that we get to see the very start of the plague. I enjoyed all the zombie-related things happening, but, I had some issues when it came to the non-zombie stuff. It was just a bunch of teenagers being bratty teenagers, what else would you expect? Either way, this definitely has some potential and I’m excited for the next issue. – Cody

Copperhead #1 – B

(A) Sheriff Bronson and her son, Zeke, seem to be leaving something bad behind them. They’ve come to a desolate planet where she is now the new sheriff of the mining town, Copperhead. They are greeted by her new deputy, a big furry alien named Budroxifinicus or Boo. As soon as they get to the sheriff’s office someone burst in to complain about a domestic disturbance. Bronson and Boo go off to investigate, when they return, she gets to meet the owner of the mine who has a rather nefarious vibe to him. Bronson and her son finally end up at their new home and she is immediately called away to a murder scene. Zeke hears a girl outside calling for her pet and decided to help, but, night is close and it’s dangerous to be out in the Badlands after dark. This book definitely has a space western/cop story going for it. It reminded me of Jesse James’ story. I enjoyed this despite it being mainly exposition. The murder should prove to be the driving force behind the story and it definitely has me interested. – Cody

(C) Imagine any Western movie ever. Got one in your head? Okay – now imagine that it happens on a different planet with aliens. Sounds pretty cool, right? With Copperhead’s premise being precisely what mind’s eye just described, it’s not all that great. Mainly because you already know what happens. Copperhead is an example of a genre driven story instead of the other way around; the way it should be for almost any adventure. Now I love space and aliens probably more than the average guy, so one might think that I’d have favorable bias to any story taking place among the stars. Au contraire young Padawan. If anything I’ve come to hold sci-fi themed stories to a higher standard. There’s too many original and mind-blowing examples of the genre done right nowadays (did you read this week’s issue of Prometheus? How about Science?) that if you’re coming to the table with laser guns and flying cars, you better have a plot that rocks too. Moon-rocks that is. I’m left wanting with Copperhead #1.

 

Marvel:

Deadpool #34- A-

I absolutely loved this issue of Deadpool; I guess it has a lot to do with the 90’s flashback art. It was a time where Sabretooth’s hair was amazingly crazy, shadows were drawn mostly with lines and Deadpool’s head was shaped like an egg the whole time. This issues ties into Original Sin more so than any other issue that has said it does. We find out what Adsit saw exactly on those days of Original Sin and it ends up being the worst and rather messed up thing Deadpool has ever done. In this we get a great flashback style and the story itself was one of the better main Deadpool series issues I have read in a while. For anyone not familiar with the 90’s art, this issue may be weird but ultimately I recommend this to most Marvel fans. – Jacob

Edge of Spider-Verse #1- B+

(A) Noir, to me, is only ever a heavy hit-or-miss theme. So in case you didn’t catch my “A” grade at the top understand that Edge of the Spider-Verse #1, who follows 1939 noir-style Spider-Man, is a hit. First and foremost I have to give props to Richard Isanove for killing it on the artistic aspect. Noir Spidey has got to be THE COOLEST looking Spider-Man in the Spider-Verse. The atmosphere and character expressions are so mesmerizing and detailed. It complements this premiere issue’s plot very well. Midway into the book I forgot I was reading a Spider-Verse story due to my concern and involvement with the present situation. By issue’s end the doors of opportunity are numerous and promising. I had average expectations for this series before reading #1. Now my expectation bar is now protruding from the ceiling. – Taylor

(B) This is definitely going to end up begin a great series for any Spider-Man fan, as even I whom isn’t the biggest Spidey fan squealed with delight at some of Spider-Man’s that show up in this issue. Of course, it is focused on Spider-Man Noir and a battle between he and Mysterio, but ultimately that battle will likely not matter at all in the scheme of things. If you have not been keeping up with Spider-Man this issue could be a bit weird just because they really don’t explain the story of who the guy hunting Spider-Man is, as well as many people may not know there are this many versions of Spider-Man, but I am sure in time they will explain the big bad and the story more through time and this is a great way to find the Spider-Man who is right for you. – Jacob

Magneto #9 – B

Finally, Magneto has a worthy opponent! After kicking asses and taking names for seven issues, Magneto gets his first boss battle. There’s a lot of pent up rage with Magneto, and we get a little more backstory as to why that is. Like a lot of the preceding issues, the story moves at a crawling speed, but is helping along by the great internal monologue thanks to Cullen Bunn’s great writing. The bad guy going forward is not one I’ve ever really seen Magneto go up against, but in the scope of Marvel, makes perfect sense. It will be entertaining to see where this battle goes, but it is at least nice to know that our favorite anti-hero does have limits. – Sherif

Death of Wolverine #2 – B-

It is really hard for me to give this a bad grade because the issue itself is so damn beautiful; on the other hand, the content inside is what earns it a lower grade. As soon as I started this, issues I had no idea Wolverine was Wolverine until they mentioned his name as he looks drastically changed from last issue on top of that there are certain plot points that really need to be explained more as we last left Sabretooth in a nice button up suit looking proper and almost taking down New York. But I guess he lost all of that and is like his savage version and a slave of Viper.  To me this story feels like it doesn’t really know where it is going, or at least it does but is taking shortcuts to get there and gets lost a bunch along the way. Hopefully by the end we will get the battle Wolverine deserves to die from, but if the battles up to now are anything like the final one, it will be short, dull, and not at all what we want and what this hero deserves. – Jacob

Hawkeye #20 – C+

It’s been so many issues since we’ve witnessed Kate go through her crisis of a life that I forgot that aspect of the story existed anymore. To be honest, that part of the story isn’t nearly as interesting, but I’m hoping that it will eventually meet up with what Barton is going through on his end. The two are a tremendous team, but apart, Kate Bishop fails to live up to the excitement that her counterpart Hawkguy has, with exception to the odd plot twist at the end. There are still tons of fun sequences and one-liners here, but Kate’s story isn’t engaging enough to enjoy. – Sherif

Funniest Panel:

hawkeye 20 funny 9.10

Panel with the Most Awesomeness:

supes unchained awesome 9.10


 

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.