Comic Book Reviews 02-11-15

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:

All New Ghost Rider #11

All-New Ghost Rider #11 – A

First things first – shout out to Fiona Staples for rocking the cover of this month’s All-New Ghost Rider. Second things second – shout out to Marvel for switching up pencilers and letting Felipe Smith work the panels. Instantly, from very first square, I saw improvement. Every panel was so much cleaner and easy to follow – something that’s been missing with Damion Scott’s issues (in my opinion).   It goes a long way to be able to SEE what’s happening in a comic book (go figure). Enough on that subject, let’s talk a little bit about the story. S*** is getting real! And dark!! I get that the whole undead, fiery-soul occupying the body of another human angle isn’t meant to make me feel warm and fuzzy, but still… things are getting pretty out of control in a very disconcerting way. The upside to this is that it’s not boring. The All-New Ghost Rider has been hit or miss for me ever since it started up last year. This month was a “hit” issue. And from the looks of things at the end of the issue, next month is likely to be a repeat performance. – Taylor

Other Reviews: 

BOOM! Studios: 

Adventure Time: Marceline Gone Adrift #2 – A

I’ve been on a huge Adventure Time kick recently. I’m finally all caught up on the show, and I’m unreasonably excited that there’s also a whole world of comics for me to dive into. And I hope it’s all as good as the current run. Issue two picks up right after issue one, and surpasses it in every way: better visuals, more story, a longer read time. It starts to peel back the layers of the deceptively complicated emotional pallet of the world. And did I mention the art? I haven’t heard of Carey Pietavg before, but I’m totally sold. Definitely more worth cover price than the first issue. – Montgomery

DC/Vertigo Comics: 

Secret Six #2 – B

This band of misfits are badasses! The Secret Six are obscure characters who would never be able to hold their own series, but together just manage to manage an enjoyable couple of issues, with potential to get even better. With Gail Simone at the helm, this series could return to the glory it had prior to the New52 launch. The focus of this issue is basically the end of the prologue, ending in the unleashing of the team upon the world. There are some characters I like, and others I’m not so fond of, but I am excited to see where we go from here. – Sherif

Harley Quinn Valentine’s Day SpecialC-

This just simply wasn’t very good. The plot was super long and convoluted and the change in art just felt lazy. In fact, they literally told the readers it was lazy because the main artist didn’t have enough time to draw the comic and meet their deadline, so they brought other artists in to do the dream sequences. This would have been fine if they weren’t so darn weird and convoluted. There were funny moments in it, but overall, this was just … weird — and not in a good way. – Charlotte

IDW Comics:

Edward Scissorhands #4 – B-

This series has been a hidden gem. This week, we see Edward and Megs find difficulty in warning people about Eli, the seemingly violent experiment Edward’s creator never activated. Most of this this opposition is the same as the film, as it comes solely from moronic adults who never listen to the kid who actually knows what is going on. The writing has gotten progressively better as this series has gone on and will hopefully come to a good ending next month in the final issue. My favorite thing of this whole series is the art by Drew Rausch because he makes Edward Scissorhands all his own while also appeasing this Tim Burton junkie pleasantly. – Jacob

Image Comics:

The Walking Dead #137 – A-

Well that got awkward. This book ended in perhaps one of the most disturbing scenes I’ve read in TWD – and believe me, there are enough to choose from. Love is in the air on the Hilltop as Carl continues to be wooed by one of the Whisperers. The issue really dives into the difficulties and paradox of how to rebuild society and the plain fragility of it all. There is trouble a’brewin; nothing this nice can last long. It only takes a few jerk-offs to ruin everything. Luckily for Maggie, Jesus sees everything. I’m also really liking that Carl has grown with the times. He’s the only one I’ve seen both threaten to murder a girl and get her in the same issue. – Sherif

The Empty #1 – B

I’m impressed; this is one of the first comics I’ve seen where the entire book was done by one person. Jimmie Robinson is the creator of The Empty, he also wrote, illustrated, colored and lettered it. Oh if only I could do all of those things. The Empty is an interesting post-apocalyptic story that is set in a part of the world covered in roots that expel a poisonous gas, mutating and poisoning the land. Tanoor is a hunter for her village. She braves the wasteland with her handy, and very cute, foxalope, Fenx. After one hunt Tanoor notices a body floating in the river near her village and it’s a woman named Lila. Lila is from a part of the world that is still lush, green and untainted. Tanoor and Lila set out to return Lila to her home. The art style makes some choices that I could take or leave. The people of Tanoor’s race are fairly normal human looking, except for the fact that their arms go down to their calves. Lila is drawn in a similar style but with different strange proportions, neck length and facial proportions in this case. There is also a backstory to Tanoor that I hope is covered. She only where’s bandages and her entire body is covered in very large scars. It will be a letdown if at some point that’s never touched on. – Scott

Shutter #9 – B-

I’ve understood all the weird shit that’s gone down in Shutter: the ninja ghosts, the steampunk Monopoly man, even the zany half-siblings angle, but the first half of this issue made absolutely no goddamn sense to me. I will say that I loved Owen Gieni’s color work in this issue. The flashback spread is beautifully crafted and, even though I had absolutely no clue what was going on, I was very visually stimulated. All this is forgiven when the book kicks it up about 20 notches at the end there, and the next issue will surely be a trip! – Sherif

Marvel/Icon Comics:

Darth Vader #1 – A-

(A) With the new Star Wars comics up and running, I’m really excited for this Darth Vader series. You never really saw many of Vader’s interactions with his fellow Empire cohorts. How much trouble did he really get in after the destruction of the first Death Star? Darth Vader #1 shows a little bit into the life and times of the Sith Lord. It’s really interesting seeing how Vader operates on a personal level. He really enjoys taking his anger out on those around him. This book also introduces some new characters, like a bad-ass looking wookie bounty hunter named Black Krrsantan. I also really loved the scroll in the beginning of the issue, it’s from the Empire’s point of view. So far, my only problem with the book is I never know how to read what Vader is saying. The emotionless mask with a speech balloon is hard to interpret, but what are you going to do? – Scott

(B) Marvel’s got a tough assignment with Darth Vader. Take the most notoriously cruel and terrifying villain in sci-fi history and create a unique, engaging and untold story about him. What makes this so challenging is that in all of Star Wars’ totality there isn’t a more iconic nor a more well-explored character than Darth Vader. The success or failure of Marvel’s first swing at the Sith lord’s solo title will only be apparent at the end. Which means getting a fair and solid reading from the first issue is highly unlikely (ask C3PO for the exact odds). That being said, there were a few things that exceeded my expectations in Darth Vader #1. The short list is this: the events of Marvel’s Star Wars title are interwoven, Darth Vader isn’t just a puppet for The Emperor, who’s this guy with half a Rodian for a face, and (this is the best one) Boba Fett has a BAD-ASS looking Wookiee bounty hunter partner (whaaaa?!?!). I’d say that this issue succeeded in capturing my attention and making me want more. Especially if that “more” includes watching this unnamed Wookie rip off a limb or two. – Taylor

Thor #5 – A-

Things have gotten pretty crazy in the world of Thor as of late, with the armless and Mjolnir-less hero no longer taking the name of Thor and giving it to the mystery woman able to pick up the hammer. Odin is not too happy with his son and the loss of his hammer. He is going to make sure he finds out who the new Thor is no matter what old Thor (no new name yet) or Freyja have to say about it. So as it stands now, Odin is likely as much of an adversary to the new Thor as is Malekith and his dealings. This series feels like most of it has been tiny tidbits of what it is placed within this issue. With Jason Aaron at the helm, he creates a very awesome intro to what definitely will be a great whodunit type of story where we will constantly be guessing who Thor is. Jorge Molina does an outstanding job with the art in this issue and really makes me wish he was more than just a guest artist. – Jacob

Guardians of the Galaxy #24 – B+

It’s the second part of the Black Vortex event, and in this issue we pick up right after the Black Vortex Alpha issue ended. Peter and Kitty are finally free of Knife, and in the process got ahold of the Black Vortex. The Guardians and the X-Men are under attack by the Slaughter Lords until Gamora submitted to the Black Vortex and beats the crap out of them all while everyone escapes to safety. Now they must decide what to do with the Black Vortex before any one of the many people after them find them again. The writing for this issue is pretty good; I always love little banter between characters you seemingly think should never work together, but we obviously can expect it to be good with Brian Michael Bendis helming this issue. Valerio Schiti kills it with the art, although the reflection in the Black Vortex at the end had me a bit worried about designs down the road. Definitely pick up this issue if you like either team or generally like to read big events, as it is definitely one of the better ones from Marvel in awhile. – Jacob

Nightcrawler #11 – B+

The Nightcrawler series has become pretty darn introspective.  At times this has driven the series down (Issue #7).  However, the last few issues have done a nice job at jazzing up the path to enlightenment with some good old-fashioned violence.  The latest issue of Nightcrawler focused much less on Nightcrawler.  However, instead of taking the approach of issue 7, an old fashioned battle-royale gave us a glimpse into where the X-Men started as we witnessed the bravery exhibited by two of our newest and bravest mutants, Rico and Ziggy.  Will the new X-Men simply run from a terrifying human/mutant trafficking ring?  Heck no!  As Nightcrawler grapples with the meaning of his second, and now third, life let’s hope he remembers to listen to his pupils as they so eagerly listen to him.  Also, how do I go about getting my own BAMF?  Those things are would be so adorable as well as handy to have around. – Jake

All-New X-Men #36 – B+

As many parallel universes as there are in DC and Marvel, the stories both publishers are putting out seem like parallel versions of each other. Heck, the term “Multiverse” is actually used during this issue. One little girl with zero training has the power to open and close a portal to any dimension. With no Charles Xavier to quell her agitation, this can only end in utter disaster. Saying goodbye to the Ultimate Universe in this issue was also kind of sad; I wish I could carry Miles Morales around with me wherever I go. There is a lot to build off of with this story, and it continues to be one of the most consistent book out. – Sherif

Wolverines #6 – B+

This series and the events leading up to it have left most people with a bad adamintium taste in their mouths, but with this issue it may change a lot. We finally see the X-Men get involved in some aspect with all that is going on with Wolverine after his death. With The X-Men showing up it is now X-Men, Paradise, and The Wolverines together against Mr. Sinister. Although the X-Men mean well, they may have just destroyed all hope of the mission at hand and Wolverine’s body may be at risk. I definitely felt this issue was the best thing from this series so far and will likely mean next week would be a great time to jump into the fold of the never-ending “Death of Wolverine” and its after math. The art by Jason Masters also adds a nice touch.  This issue may be the start to something good. – Jacob

Spider-Woman #4 – B

Here’s our first post Spider-Verse event comic. Having dealt with the Inheritors threat, what is next for Jessica Drew?? Apparently it’s finding a new job. One that comes with substantially less inter-dimensional travel and fewer encounters with giant alien monsters (both of which occur in this issue!). Overall this book felt a bit disjointed. It was half wrap-up of issues surrounding Spider-Verse and half transitioning into a standalone title. This made for only a moderately entertaining read. This is understandable – it’s hard to switch gears so quickly and maintain previous pace. I’m generally excited to keep up with this title. A new Spider-Woman costume is enough enticement alone (I am not a fan of the current getup)! I’ve got a good feeling about where the new Spider-Woman is heading. – Taylor

Captain Marvel #12 – B-

Oh thank the gods. Captain Marvel regained some of its old wit. There were no tropes, and we got to focus on The Cap’ herself. There was some banter between her and the ship, Harrison. But mostly there was a lot of good artwork. I love when space books take the time show you the vastness of the universe, and this issue did that very well. This new arc, in which Lila and Grace Valentine are no longer the focal point, will take an interesting turn now that the Flerken is the most powerful Flerken of all Flerkens. – Adrian

Amazing Spider-Man #14 – C

And so it ends. The Spider-Verse event is over. And while it was a super-fun ride throughout the “epic” conclusion was just a smidge below my expectations. It was exciting, but I found that as I flipped the pages I wasn’t as anxious or as nervous as I’d hoped. On top of that, there was just too much going on. The ritual, the rebirth of Leopardon, Solus’ soul crystal, Doc Ock being an A-hole, the revenge of Karn, Hamboozling. Each component was good, but because there was so much content there wasn’t any room for focus. No one aspect really brought it home and by the time is was over it was just… over. All in all, I got enough closure for comfort. What’s even better is the stage has been set for numerous spin-offs, follow-up events and completely new stories. You’d better believe that I’d pay money to read a dedicated “Spider-Ham” series. The Spider-Verse is calm again, but let’s see how long it lasts. – Taylor

Funniest Panel:

All New X-Men #36
All New X-Men #36

Panel with the Most Awesomeness:

Spider-Woman #4
Spider-Woman #4


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.